Listening to KARATE HOUSE now has recalled to me how I originally came across this band in the first place, and a timely reminder of allowing yourself to go on an adventure, whether planned or not.
Let’s go back a few years and I’m looking for a fun birthday present for my sister, and low and behold the Kaiser Chiefs are playing a gig at the Ally Pally in London.
Knowing that Vix was a fan, I booked tickets. Now there was a slight ulterior motive as my man crush, guitar genius and all around good guy, Graham Coxon was supporting them. Sorted. We’ll both have a good time.
Roll around to the time of the gig and I was expecting to see GC roll on before the KCs
However instead it was 4 guys in jump suits. They started playing what I can only describe as chaos. Controlled chaos.
There was lots of running around, golden pom poms, a recorder solo, and just general fun.
Such an impression they made on me, I can’t remember the rest of the night, though that may also be down to having drank quite a bit that evening 😉
I wanted to find out more about this band, so I hopped on YouTube, and was immediately struck by them. Their style in music, their energy, and how different they were to anything I’d heard previously (and possibly since).
I found at their names (at the time Hiro, Fumi, Kayo, Yano), that they were from Japan, and that they’d been producing music for quite some time. They sung mostly in Japanese with a smattering of English here and there, are heavily influenced by bands like DEVO (another band I needed to look into), Kraftwerk, and a tonne of other 70s/80s bands.
This took me and my sister to another gig of theirs, this time in my hometown of Oxford. Just to see their energetic performance on my doorstep was a thing to behold, and every time I go to the upstairs room/old Zodiac I think of this gig.
I got to see them once again at a gig around 11 years ago now in London, at King’s College, and this time I got to very briefly chat with Fumi who was lovely. I got a selfie with her, which is now on a mug that Minna made for me as a Christmas present, I still have that mug, and will never part company with it!
Since this record was released, and the last time I saw them, their pom pom waiving, recorder playing, all around cool keyboard/vocoderer (is that a word?) Kayo has left the band 😦 But for good reasons, she just wanted what she called a normal life, I hope she’s doing well.
And that’s the thing with this band, I’ve never really had this kind of connection with a band. They’re simply themselves, making music that makes them happy.
All this wouldn’t have been possible had I not embarked on that early adventure, to find out who they were.
It’s lead me onto my love of other bands, such as Public Service Broadcasting.
So allow yourself to go on an adventure, whether you planned it or not.