Band Blog

Japan Tour Managers Blog – Part 5



We were sorry to leave Okayama and the guys from Comatose helped with getting our gear to the station. What a marvellous bunch they are. Little did we know we would be seeing them later…

After a very short train ride to Shin-Kobe station we were met by the promoter and taken to his amazing club, Zink, which was about a 30 minute van ride away. This place has to be seen to be believed – it’s near the docks and is a converted warehouse with a skate ramp, basketball hoops, pool tables, and various nooks and crannies for the band and punters to relax in. It’s certainly one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever played. This being Show 4 ( in a row ), everyone was feeling the strain ( hardly any bands do 4 shows in a row if it can be avoided ) but once again the soundcheck was seamless and helped by the usual highly efficient engineers.

We then piled back into the van along with the promoter’s lovely assistant Totti ( so named because she wears a Totti football shirt when she plays ) who was there to help translate, and headed back into Kobe to HMV for the instore. This one was potentially a bit dodgy as the store’s PA was somewhat basic – but like the 7th Cavalry a couple of the guys from Comatose turned up and generally mucked in and got the PA sorted out, and also brought a snare drum for Dana to play. An appreciative crowd turned up and sang along, followed by the usual signing session. People had brought some amazing ancient Farrah artefacts, which is quite common in Japan – for example, unopened copies of the vinyl of “Terry” – for the band to sign. We then met up with Nobu who was enjoying cruising round in the promoter’s very cool van and got dropped at the hotel.

Kobe being the famed “Beef Capital Of The World”, clearly my focus was on consuming as much cow-based food as possible, until I saw that a steak cost £60! I went for a £2.50 plateful of curry with Andrew instead ( Later that evening, for some reason, Nobu insisted on pointing out 4 or 5 excellent Kobe beef restaurants, all of which were shut ). We were back at Zink by 8-ish to see the end of the set by Riddim Saunter, who were very good, and then Farrah blitzed through another high-energy show assisted by 2 wonderful girls at the front who danced constantly to such an extent that Jez tried to get them up on stage for the encores. Shyness set in at that point, however, and the ladies declined. Considering that we have never played in Kobe before, we were pleased that people showed up, not least because the club is way out of town.

After the show, an impromptu table tennis competition was held, involving me getting rinsed by Dana, along with the bass player from Comatose, but then Michelle and Jez revealing themselves to be secret ping pong Illuminati. A long, long trudge through the streets of Kobe ( you never know how far the walk will be, Dana has sensibly taken to bailing out of it’s more than 3 minutes from the hotel ) ended at another great restaurant where – as usual – all the bands celebrated the show together. After this, I gave up and cabbed it back to the hotel as tour fatigue had truly set in and I was hallucinating ( possibly about giant sizzling cows ).

The next morning we headed off – minus Jez, who was staying for a holiday for a week or so – back to Tokyo and, from the train, got a fantastic view of Mt. Fuji. It really is an awesome sight, especially when the snow-covered upper half is a fairly similar colour to a slightly overcast sky – at first you seem to be looking at a brown flat-topped mountain and then suddenly you see the snowy peak going far higher than you imagine it to be. You then think – “that’s a volcano”.

Dana and I headed off to the airport next morning laden down with luggage including the bass case, which I loathe and detest more than any inanimate object in the Universe, due mainly to its weight, general unwieldliness ( is that a word? ) and its ability to slide off any known luggage trolley, crashing to the ground with tremendous force and terrifying small Japanese children, and the fact that it does not belong to me but to certain other people who were blithely heading off on holiday to Australia without being encumbered by anything so pesky as their own instrument. I entrusted it to Virgin Atlantic, praying silently that they would lose it or at the very least set it on fire. I sat glumly on the plane after hearing that London was 8 degrees and rainy, and for the whole 11 hours had a “sniffing bloke” next to me. I should explain. Japanese people don’t really blow their noses in public. Apparently it is less undignified to sniff every 23 seconds for 11 hours. Which is about 2000 sniffs. Not that I became obsessed with it or anything.

On returning to London, it was 8 degrees, rainy, my cab was an hour late, cost too much, and everyone I met was a complete and utter bastard. The End.