Category: Garage Rock

Last night I attended The Gig Of The Year (for a little town like York at least) when I went to watch The Midnight Hour at The Crescent Community Venue in York. For those of you who don’t live in the UK I should explain that York doesn’t get bands like The Midnight Hour playing even in the town biggest venues. The city of Leeds is just half an hour down the road and when a tour misses out Leeds the next nearest stop is Manchester just over an hour and half to the West of York. There is no need for a band like The Midnight Hour to play York and yet local Promoter Ouroboros pulled off this amazing booking.

The evening began with support act Jack Waterson who had just released his album “Adrian Younge Presents… Jack Waterson” two before hand. The guitarist wasn’t on stage for long but played an explosive slice of psychedelic rock from his album before handing over to an off Adrian Younge’s cohorts Loren Oden who sang an epic long song while playing Fender Rhodes electric piano I picked up on hints of Marvin Gaye in his voice during this song.

After a brief break between sets it was time for the main event, The Midnight Hour took to the stage with a drummer, viola player, violinist, trumpeter, alto saxophonist, Waterson on guitar, Oden would rejoin the fray later in the set. Adrian Younge played the Fender Rhodes with Ali Shaheed Muhammad playing an incredible looking purple Fender Jazz bass. What followed wasn’t at all what I’d expect from the band. I had listened to their self titled debut album for the first time in months earlier in the day and it’s pretty much a smooth Jazz album, that’s no bad thing but it doesn’t prepare you for the live versions of those tracks. What we got instead was what my friend Paul Lowman described on Twitter as “not just the best psychfunkjazz band around, but they did ‘s Excursions, aka maybe the greatest opening of any LP, ever. Anybody who wants Hendrix fuzz & Fender Rhodes funk in their face, catch ’em live” and I couldn’t put it any better myself. The band so tight and were able to segue from song to song and change styles on a six piece all while keeping the vibe Friday night not the reality of a Sunday night. In a lot of ways the live versions of the album tracks were a better representation of the other material Adrian Younge has put out both as a solo artist and in collaboration with Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

The other members of the band were equally impressive with the drummer able to switch from delicate Jazz right through to all-out Funk-Rock breakbeats, the horns were both capable of punchy stabs and expressive emotive soloing, the strings add melancholy flourishes and Loren Oden showed not only could he get into Marvin Gaye territory but also could also pull off a Curtis Mayfield style falsetto. The bands talents were acknowledged throughout the set by both Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad who got everyone up at the front of stage to thank them and give a great speech about their family (the band), never giving up on your dream and never forgetting their are no barriers between us and Love is real. All-in-all an incredible experience, I even got to meet Ali Shaheed Muhammad after the band finished. 

You owe to yourself to check out The Midnight Hour’s music, their live show and anything else that the individuals involved our involved now and into the future.  

Otoboke Beaver are an all-female punk/garage rock quartet from Kyoto, Japan, they formed back in 2009 at Kyoto University’s music club they took their name from a local ‘Love Hotel’ and began to hone their intense brand of fast and hard hitting music. Tthe band consists of Accorinrin (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Yoyoyoshie (Guitar & Vocals), Hiro-chan (Bass & Vocals) and Kahokiss (Drums & Vocals). While the band has been together for 10 years they only started to receive attention outside of Japan in 2016 as English label Damnably put out the compilation “Okoshiyasu Otoboke Beaver”. The collection gathered together singles, their debut album “Mokugeki”, and the mini-album “Konya Kagiri Nante Zettai Honto Ni Iwasenai!” That same year they also released the “Bakuro Book EP”. They gathered yet more attention in 2017 due to both attention from Pitchfork, NPR.i-D and The Fader plus festival performances at Fuji Rock Festival, SXSW and a gig at legendary punk venue the 100 Club in London. For Record Store Day they released the ‘Love Is Short’ 7″ which stayed in the UK charts for four weeks. 2018 saw the band cram three UK dates in between slots at Coachella Music Festival that April. The tour was entitled ‘ATTYUUMA’ (Blink Of An Eye) with further coverage in Pitchfork, Billboard, Stereogum and more.

That brings us to 2019 when the band will return to SXSW and Coachella and then tour the UK on the GOLDENWEEK 2019 Tour (tickets for this tour are selling fast so get in there while you can) with Say Sue Me (South Korea) and Drinking Girls and Boys Choir (South Korea). The band’s new album “ITEKOMA HITS” is released on Black/Orange Splatter 12″ Vinyl, CD and Digital on 26th April. There is also an exclusive Picture Disc version is also available for Damnably Label Subscribers only (limited to 100).

The album features 6 new tracks recorded in 2018 and a re-recording of ‘Akimahenka and After making love with me’, ‘You eat your wife’s meal’ with Kaho Kiss drumming.
The other tracks are from the recent “Love Is Short” and “Bakuro Book” EP’s.

So you’ve learnt the history of Okoboke Beaver and the exciting things they have in the pipe line so now it’s time to let you know about the music. I have listened to everything the band has put out and I have to say that it’s only due to a lack of exposure that aren’t better known and consider one of the top current Punk/garage rock bands up their with Idles, The Hives, Ty Segal etc. The band are able to switch from brooding twangy epic riffs to ferocious high speed intensity between tunes and they cover all the ground in between. They have definitely improved over their decade together and their musicianship is always clearly on display. Put simply you need Otoboke Beaver in your life!!!

Check out Otoboke Beaver’s new single and Damnably Records Goldenweek Spotify playlist below. Come back tomorrow the 2nd part of this preview on Say Sue Me.

Let me know what you think of the band in the Comments.




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