The whipsmart Japanese quartet Otoboke Beaver recently hit the hellfire shores of the US on their first full scale North American tour, bringing their intense and frenetic punk stylings across the States, making a stop in Brooklyn last week at a very packed, sold out Music Hall of Williamsburg. They have wowed fans and critics alike with their back to back power packed albums, 2019’s Itekoma Hits and the triumphant follow up, Super Champon, released earlier this year. They’ve even gotten endorsements from rock luminaries like Dave Grohl who called the group “the most fucking intense shit you’ve every seen” when asked about the state of modern rock in 2021. And with a nod like that, you know this band kicks serious ass both on stage and off.
Inspired by a variety of influences such as the Japanese comedy syle Manzai, punk, pop music, the world around them and their own experiences in it, they have taken all of this, mixed it in a blender and come out with a very unique and untamed style of frantic punk that the words “rapid fire” barely do justice to. A constant push and pull with starts, stops and wildly fluctuating tempos (that mostly all fall under the realm of “fast”), there’s no chance you can stay still while listening to, much less watching, this band play. Indeed, the room very quickly sprang to action with dancing, moshing, and plenty of fans angling to capture the moment in videos on their phones. Vocalist Accorinrin, who very accurately describes herself as the “hysterical brain of Otoboke Beaver,” made sure to display plenty of raised middle finger action for the cameras too, with drummer Kahokiss joining in on the bird flipping in between warp speed beats and lighting fast drum fills; she just might have taken the crown as my favorite drummer to watch.
Kahokiss of Otoboke Beaver at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Kicking off with the groove punk of “Yakitori,” they lit a match and doused the crowd with proverbial gasoline immediately. From there on out, song after song, all played in very quick succession and back to back for the most part, they wowed the crowd and kept everyone in a gleeful state of abandon, very near the edge of all out chaos but never quite jumping over the edge. I loved every moment and it was an overall high octane experience during which you better have held on for dear life! And being a middle aged woman who has actively and purposely chosen not to have children, a particularly huge highlight of the evening for me was of course “I am not maternal,” its disco-esque breakdowns and slinky bassline shaking the crowd even further.
One of my favorite local bands, Ratas En Zelo, opened the show and played a set of bouncy accordion fueled punk which captured the crowd and kept them moving for their entire set. I heard quite a few people around saying “I’m not sure who this is” at the start of the night and saw them dancing very quickly within the first few songs. The crowd responded well and I saw quite a number of people sporting their merch afterwards or lining up to buy it. Their music is totally infectious with lyrics that are 99% sung in Spanish and pack a political punch; it was the perfect start to a raucous and rowdy evening of fun and an excellent pairing with the sizzling snark of Otoboke Beaver.
After the show, Ratas said on their Instagram “It was an EPIC night last night with Otoboke Beaver ❤️❤️❤️ check their IG for US tour dates and if you don’t know them yet.. PLEASE do yourself a favor and run to check them out! It was INSAAAAANE in all the good ways🔥🔥🔥
Loved that yesterday only women step on stage and barely any english got sang! Is symbolic and special because these spaces are historically men dominated… but watch out POC women are taking over ❤️❤️❤️”
And I for one am a billion percent here for that!
Scroll down for videos, setlist and pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
Otoboke Beaver live in July 2022
Setlist: Yakitori, Akimahenka, Light My Fire, Bad luck, S’il Vous Plait, Love Is Short, What do you mean you have to talk to me at this late date?, Introduce me to your family, Datsu.Hikage no onna, Don’t call me Mojo, George & Janice, Dirty old fart is waiting for my reaction, I am not maternal, Nabe party with pocket brothers, I put my love to you in a song JASRAC, I checked your cellphone, PARDON?, I won’t dish out salads, Leave me alone! No, stay with me!, I don’t want to die alone, First-class side-guy, Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi
RATAS EN ZELO