Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Shimokitazawa Tokyo

The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Tokyo
It was great news to see that The Stompin' Riff Raffs were playing a gig in Tokyo while I was there and the chance to see them in a small basement club in Shimokitazawa was too good an opportunity to pass up. After all they do rank up there among the best live acts I've ever seen and any band that can make a theremin sexy has got my vote! I first saw them play at last year's Hipsville Weekender where the enthusiastic organizers Mr A, Alex and Ade can be relied on to scour all corners of the planet to bring us unbelievably good Garage Rock bands. I've been introduced to bands from Mexico such as Los Sustos, the fabulous Autoramas from Brazil, Messer Chups from Russia and The Jackets from Switzerland to name a few. But they really surpassed themselves with The Stompin' Riff Raffs. Getting them over from Japan can't have been easy and the band were hit by technical problems on the day which unfortunately put paid to Miku's keyboards. However the young Tokyo based band continued to put in a stunningly energetic performance, Miku endearing herself to the crowd by still going through the motions of playing her broken keyboard just in case it miraculously burst in life!

Miku of The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Tokyo
Rie of The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Tokyo
So, back to the present and I'm down the front at Club Three eagerly awaiting my second experience of The Stompin' Riff Raffs. They burst onto the stage and crash straight into the Surf-Psych instrumental "Parabellum". Three girls and a guy. The girls dressed identically in sparkling 1930's style flapper dresses and Green Hornet face masks. Miku plays her theremin as though it were a guitar, twisting ear-bustingly weird yet wonderful noises from it. Drummer Saori is all smiles behind her kit and super-cool bassist Rie looks great while adding harmonies and backing vocals. Singer and guitarist Nao is a truly charismatic front-man as he throws everything into his performance. The Sonics' "The Witch" gets a good Stompin' and "Surfside Date" sounds amazing. There are elements of Link Wray, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Cramps and the Ramones in their quick-fire no pause for breath approach. One of my highlights of the night is the penultimate killer track "Horror Show", which you can hear in Episode 22 of Retrosonic Podcast here

Saori of The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Tokyo
Nao of The Stompin' Riff Raffs at Club Three Tokyo
The band are all smiles and their enthusiasm is infection as the crowd go wild, there's a real sense of fun and abandonment with The Stompin' Riff Raffs. The set draws to a crazed end with another theremin-led instrumental "Ghost Train" during which all hell breaks loose on stage and everything falls apart in glorious chaos! What a show and what a band! My only complaint was that due to time restraints there was no encore so I didn't get to hear my favourite track "Linda" but I was more than satisfied. Let's hope they come back to the U.K. again very soon. You can check out more 'up close and personal' videos of the band at the Club Three Shimokitazawa and Hipsville 2016 over at our Retro Man Blog YouTube channel here. Here's a little taster...

For more info on The Stompin' Riff Raffs check out their official Facebook page here.

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