Geboizm ("Explosion!") Night
by Bloom 03.02.07
Kansai [n.] 1. a region located roughly in the middle of the main Japanese island of Honshu encompassing the major cities Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. 2.
an area located in the brain distinctly removed from the frontal lobe, of no real fixed abode, vaguely moving about various cortextial areas at whim and will, and extending to nether regions of the body, as well as having the capability of actually exiting the physical body on occasion.
...welcome to Kansai, babe, and if you ain't ready to give it up, you may as well give up.
That, at least, was how I was psyching myself up to do a show with a couple of its Godzillian bands, Afrirampo, and Bogulta, at the down and dirty Osaka Namba Bears live house, ground zero for the Kansai underground scene.
Afrirampo's case is pretty well-known- loud and crazy guitar/drum chick duo partial to less-than-Victorian dress and jumping up, down, and raging around as if someone's gone and finished off the sushi before the start of the post-gig party.
After observing them apply their red war face-paint backstage, I was expecting more of the same. When they hit the stage, however, a more nurturing, intimate Afri-incarnation unfolded, more a beer and some lightly-spiced comfort food than a red hot pepper. It turns out Oni, the lead singer/guitarist, is actually 3 months pregnant and playing the 2nd-to-last Afri gig for the foreseeable future, so some of that molten take-no-prisoners sensual attack was married to a wan waving goodbye to some fond memories and thanking everyone for helping bring them to this stage in their career. Their usual joyous enthusiasm that shone through was now tinged with a lingering at the back gate of the fun house which had been the scene for so many parties, coupled with the realization that it was now for them to go in search of a new abode.
If you could bottle up an ideal essence of the Kansai scene, one possible version would Bogulta definitely be. Take equal parts home-made clown outfits, a propensity for the outrageous (flinging fecal matter, as an example), and mix with frenzied pummeling of instruments hammering out a never-ending barrage of lunatic phrases, riffs, whirrings, stop-start-stutter-go racing again for another instant mosh-generating-fix, and you have a cup of noodle schizophrenic mammoth mayhem of such magnitude that one finds it hard to believe it is all being generated by only two guys. And a sampler.
Having two heads helps, as the drummer Nani-kun started drumming with a punk band in junior high while also geeking it out in his room with his keyboard and pc. Having quit post-high school Laptop Music Technical School after 6 months, he formed a band called Zuinoshin ('New Music') with 5 guys he had gone to middle and senior high with. Growing a third head was the result of him ditching the drums and keyboard to become the leader of this group as a performance artist- naturally this meant that at their inaugral performance (an impromptu countdown street event on the evening of December 31, 2000) he would be defacating and throwing the excreted matter at passers-by. This resulted in many squad cars joining the festivities and the immediate voluntary retirement of four of the members.
Fast forward two years. With his remaining partner in dirty crime (a Mr.
Kakoi, who he had been playing music with sincer middle school) on guitar and a new member who had apparently been impressed with the countdown event debacle on bass, Nani returned to the drums, and the three created an insanely loud and demented spectacle replete with the donning of equally outlandish outfits. On the eve of their European tour in October 2005, Kakoi san was put in the deep freeze for dallying a bit with the herb, leading Nani san to engage his pc instincts in implementing a sampler and forming Bogulta in 2006 with Shogo the bassist.
So it was that I was hanging out in the backstage area of Bears with someone who I sensed had been through some shit in their life, but I really had no idea, as I not only had yet to interview him, I also had only ever saw him play the drums with another impactful band called (he's in four different bands at the moment, three of which I can personally confirm totally rawk).
I suppose I should have been have forming a foreshadow of what was to come when I saw him skipping about the dressing room imbibing by the drop a god-knows-what-proof liquid from a two ounce vial.
Whatever was in that libation, I'll be either ordering a case soon or carefully avoiding it 'till the cessation of all conflicts inthe Middle East, because it made Alladin's two story-tall genie look like a winnie on a
stick- when Nani and Shogo hit the stage, it was ON, and while Shogo shook it up and played a storm with his smoking bass and effects, Nani was a like demon who'd been chained up in a Fundamentalist Puritan convent minus the nuns and was now bent on reducing the drumset to ashes while periodically climbing over it, prowiling around the stage, and singing like the Apocalypse could only be stemmed if he were to induce another one, while various demented carnival scenes danced from the sampler. The keystone which held it all in place and made it work was to be found in the songs'
structures themselves- while the two of them played the hell out of them, it was apparent that they had been carefully constructed, and vicious instrumental crescendos invariably led to sudden precise changes into other codas which were executed seamlessly in-synch, yet were dirty and gritty and done with full-throttle power. The crowd's only possible response was to instantly froth up and implode into a violent mosh pit bordering on psycho-level...
It was a dream event to be a part of, so many dimensions setting up other contrasts to be explored, like bombing it downhill in a bobsled, then gliding over a placid lake in a sailboat, slowly hiking through verdant meadows, descending into moon-lit river valleys, soaring above the horizon on guilded wings, dancing naked on a street corner with Tony the Tiger ("they're GRRRREAT!!!!"), then torching it all in the mother of all fireballs. There was quite a bit of reverie going on that night (the momentum of which carried over a couple of nights later to 'Geboizm Night ver. 6' in Kobe), resounding with a giddy sense of well-being and the smell of burnt resin offerings...Yeah...Hell, yeah.