Enemies – Tokyo gigs [O-Nest/O-West]

Enemies - O Nest 19/06/2009

Enemies - O Nest 19/06/2009

It’s not everyday Irish bands tour Japan.  It’s just not feasible and it can be risky territory.  I could list the amount of underground Irish bands that played here on one hand (that I know of!), possibly just needing one finger.  So needless to say I was incredibly impressed to hear Enemies, yet another fine export from Wicklow are to play Tokyo while I am here.  I caught these guys play at Adebisi Shanks album launch last year in the dingy rathole Lower Deck in Dublin last year.  I unfortunately only caught the end of their set due to the ridiculous early start but loved what I heard then ignorantly never followed up checking them out.  During my first month of worrying unemployment in Japan I decided to check out their myspace which completely hooked me onto their guitar tapping instrumental distortion madness and noticed a few Japanese dates popping up which intrigued me even more.  Their drummer used to play in brilliant More Tiny Giants who I like alot too.  I am not going to compare Enemies to other bands as I can’t.  It’s quite unique what these guys do.  The have bizarre timing signatures, loud/quiet guitars, wailing guitar sweeps, pounding drums (sometimes two drummers) and enough energy to rip your limbs off.  Their recordings are excellent and I highly recommend their Alpha Waves EP which was recently released.  It does not sound very Irish, I know that much.  I was lucky enough to catch their two Tokyo gigs.

Their first Tokyo gig was an impressive headline slot at the O-Nest [400~ capacity] with the brilliantly psychedelic Mouse of the Keys supporting.  Mouse on the Keys are an incredibly polished three piece, they know that the want, they do it and they leave.  I will definitely be picking some of their stuff this week.  Their show was enhanced by some great projector action of swimming goldfish and some space-like footage.  Check out their brilliant “Saigo No Bansan”.  Great for going to bed to!

Enemies headline the night which is strange as I assumed most people are here to catch Japanese outfit Mouse on the Keys.  I am proven wrong as most people stick around after MOTK and the front four rows don’t even budge and the venue is very busy.  One thing I notice over here is that gig goers do their homework, they know what to expect and the scour the internet for what ever they can find.  Unsurprisingly their myspace songs get big cheers from the Japanese and small gathering of Irish who made the trip over.  Their set is great and I can’t help but feel incredibly proud to see an Irish band play Tokyo that’s not the Pogues or U2.  One thing that is incredibly apparent is that these guys are delighted to be here.  They are playing Tokyo and are well aware of it.  Mark their bassist looks like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve night ready to explode, swinging and swaying and even leaping into the adoring crowd towards the end of the set.  A great venue and it was a privilege to catch one of Ireland’s finest guitar bands and one of my personal favourites play there.

I caught them the following night supporting the wonderful Toe in the sold out O-West [900 capacity].  It’s absolutely rammed and sweltering hot.  I just about made my way to the back wall where I was absolutely blinded by four huge flood flights as I arrived late and Enemies had already begun.  I won’t lie to you, it’s hard to enjoy anything in these conditions but it was great to see the guys play for one last time and they are playing some songs they left out on the previous night.  They speak English during songs which is surprisingly understood by some of the crowd and get’s huge cheers and deservedly so.  Contender for best Irish rock band in my opinion. There, I said it.

They are playing the lovely Greystones Theatre/Wicklow on the 28th of June.  I recommend going to this if you can, I know it’s a trek for most but it will be worth it!

Adebisi Shank and Enemies have both completed successful tours of Japan.. Who is next?  I’m not entirely sure but I eagerly await the return of Adebisi Shank on the 15th of July with Lite and I expect visits from And So I Watch You From Afar and Fight Like Apes this year some time, both who have been hinting Japanese shows over the past few months.  I have no doubt both will be greeted by crowds as big as the ones present this weekend if not bigger.

Photos of Enenies in the O-Nest [19/06/2009]

DSC01621

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Here is some of their tour footage they compiled.

Recommended listening :  Two Lads on their myspace.

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~ by redegg on June 21, 2009.

2 Responses to “Enemies – Tokyo gigs [O-Nest/O-West]”

  1. Excellent review Colin, I was sooo intrigued how they’d get on! The pics are really good, great floods!

  2. Great indeed!!

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