Last night in Shibuya at the Ruby Room open mic in Tokyo more than made up for all the missed opportunities and frustrations of previous evenings in my open mic searches. It was a multidimensional evening of interest, fun and – today – fatigue. One of the most amazing and amusing things to happen was that it turned out that I was not alone as a person from the Paris open mics to show up at the Ruby Room last night.
A band from Paris that has taken part in many of the open mics that I do in Paris has come to Japan to play gigs and develop music and live an adventure here for three months, and they showed up at the Ruby Room last night. That was the band called One Bourbon One Beer. They are a very cool blues, pop indie kind of band that met at the Pop ‘In open mic in Paris and got together to make their history.
I had played at the Ruby Room two years ago, and some how like a homing pigeon I managed to get off the Shibuya station metro last night and walk straight to the club amidst the bright lights, signs in Japanese, curling sidestreets, large neon movie, store, club and other morass of a city scape. I loved this open mic two years ago because it was a beautiful small room on a small street with a good ambience, neat bar, cool stage and sofas, little tables spotted about, including a separate kind of covered table off to the side. Something about the ambience of the place had reminded me two years ago of the Truskel bar in Paris, and so it was pretty amazing to meet up with One Bourbon One Beer, who it turns out, also were on the same flight as me from Paris to Japan last week!
The other thing that is cool about the Ruby Room is the mixture of Japanese and Westerners. There were Brits, New Zealanders, Americans, everything. And the Japanese. In fact, before One Bourbon One Beer showed up and as I waited on the staircase outside for the doors to open and the sign-up to begin, I struck up a conversation with the leader of what would turn out to be the coolest Japanese band of the evening, a band called D.O.G.S. Koji, the leader, spoke perfect English, thanks to his former girlfriend from Canada.
D.O.G.S., it turned out, are going on a tour of Seattle in about 10 days, and they showed up at the Ruby Room to warm up in front of an audience before they leave for the United States. So I interviewed Koji for my open mic film, and then later interviewed One Bourbon, One Beer. I mean, what a wonderful example of the open mic zeitgeist: This young band from Paris travels to Japan to learn its chops in a different culture, while this young band from Japan – same age basically – travels to the U.S. to learn its chops – actually both bands have a little tour organized – and here they are both showing up at the same open mic in Tokyo….
There were some weird and cool acts last night, but it was quite different to two years ago, when there were a lot more acoustic Japanese bands. Last night I played four songs, and had to use my guitar without its pick-up, thanks to the butcher job done by Guitar Garage in Paris, that worked on repairing the damaged wood – after the guitar was destroyed by Emirates on the way to Singapore – and in working on the wood they destroyed the electronic pick up. (Now they don’t respond to my emails asking desperately if they have an idea how I can fix the pick up myself.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiZ8J2OrXmI New! Edit this video
But my thing went over well, and I felt in good shape. I thoroughly enjoyed it, got the crowd clapping along – well, no, they just did it – and the evening was immensely wonderful. I just had to forfeit sleep as I travelled today to Seoul, South Korea, from Tokyo….
P.S., it was only two of the three performers from One Bourbon One Beer: Genji Kuno (guitar/vocal) and
Thibault Delacour. The drummer did not come on the trip.