No one quite does it like Otoboke Beaver, the whipsmart punk quartet from Kyoto. Their intense and frenetic music infuses elements of punk, disco, hardcore and a healthy heaping of riot grrrl attitude along with lyrics delivered in a similar way to the rapid fire Japanese comedy syle, Manzai, for a unique and wildly originally blend of styles and sarcastic swagger. And on top of it, I’m hard pressed to think of many other bands that have such technical prowess paired with the level of stage presence they have. Whether you’re jumping up and down and watching them run wild on the stage, zeroing in on Yoyoyoshie’s fingers fly across the fret board in complex arpeggiated phrases, grooving to one of Hiro-chan’s sublime basslines or, like me, staring in awe while Kahohiss attacks her drum kit with the speed and force of three drummers combined, this is one helluva band to watch.
I was thrilled they came back to the US so soon after their fall 2022 tour (see pics from their Music Hall of Williamsburg show) and was ready for all the action one of their live shows entails. Much like last time, the room immediately sprang into a frenzy— dancing, moshing, and plenty of fans angling to capture the moment in videos on their phones. The crowd definitely got rowdier than last time, perhaps a bit too rowdy, as my twisted elbow and knocked off glasses can attest, but fortunately my specs didn’t get trampled and my elbow was nothing a few hours with a bag of frozen vegan chicken wings didn’t mend after the show. It’s hard not to get swept up in the electric buzz in the air at an Otoboke Beaver show so I get it. And like I said last time, you better hold on for dear life!
Otoboke Beaver at LPR
Like most of their recent live shows, they kicked off the night with “Yakitori,” the killer groove punk rager from their excellent 2022 album, Super Champon (one of my favorites of 2022). I was delighted to hear many more favorites over the evening from that album especially “PARDON?” the brilliant fuck off dis track to Anglo-douche fans/YouTube commenters who cruelly make fun of the band’s English skills, and the equally as brilliant, equally as fuck right off ode to men on the internet (or otherwise) “Dirty old fart is waiting for my reaction” (a song that was, unsurprisingly, definitely lost on some of those in attendance at the show). Other highlights were “I won’t dish out salads,” “I don’t want to die alone” along with “S’il Vous Plait” and “Don’t light my fire,” both from 2019’s Itekoma Hits.
And the absolute highlight of highlights to beat all other highlights was “I am not maternal,” a song that, as a childless-by-very-conscious-choice middle aged woman, is my goddamn anthem. The disco breakdown whipping the already fired up crowd into total abandon and getting deep inside my heart. Middle finger raised throughout, vocalist Accorinrin let everyone know just what the fuck was up. It’s not hard to see why this band has resonated with so many, even earning accolades from rock luminaries like Dave Grohl.
They once again had local band, Ratas En Zelo, open the show, playing their signature bouncy accordion fueled punk tunes which kept the crowd bopping for their entire set. They have been working on a new album and debuted a few new songs including “Cheesus” and “Punk Polizza” about jerks who tell them they “aren’t punk enough” because they are women or use an accordion in their band. I for one think that’s r i d i c u l o u s and this band is punker than any band of bros any day. I’m really looking forward to the album which the band is hoping to release later this year.
All you need is love, as the saying goes. But a band like Otoboke Beaver also reminds me that you also need some rage in this life, or rather the outlet to express that rage, and even better, to dish it out like a sarcastic cannonball. Middle fingers up and hearts full <3
The Super Champon tour finishes in North America on 3/14 before they make a stop in Hawaii and take a break. They will hit their home country, Japan, for a pair of dates in April before heading off to the UK and Europe in May.
Read this interview which features Otoboke Beaver talking about Super Champon, getting real on their feelings on a range of topics.
Watch their masterful set for Live on KEXP below.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
RATAS EN ZELO