Much has been made of the need for diversity in a male-dominated music industry (and quite right too) so it’s heartening to see that both bands appearing tonight have all-female line-ups. What’s even more impressive is that both of these bands can, in terms of sonic fury, out-rock their male counterparts, and if you want to know what the real sound of “girl power” is, then the answer is right here.
Live Report: Otoboke Beaver + Drinking Boys And Girls Choir
The Fleece, Bristol, 10.05.2023
I’m a big fan of three-piece bands. There’s something so very tight and compact about these reduced numbers that produce a sound which is devoid of any excess fat and packs a hefty punch, and that’s exactly what South Korea’s Drinking Boys And Girls Choir deliver. Hailing from Daegu, South Korea, they’re a buoyant bunch who deliver songs that’d make the perfect soundtrack to various skateboard stunts (whilst consuming some choice alcoholic beverages). The three-pronged vocal attack makes for an arresting experience as bassist Meena Bae covers every inch of the stage while drummer Myeong-jin Kim deftly mixes up rhythms. Over the past decade, the band have blazed through four guitarists, but I hope they stick with number five because Megan Nisbet is a cracking vocalist who can also deliver a gnarly solo (or two). It’s the band’s last night on the Otoboke Beaver tour, so there’s an end-of-term vibe to proceedings, but the band are all business and delivers an enjoyable, energetic set.
On every tour of the UK, Japan’s Otoboke Beaver have built on previous successes and, as the sell-out shows on this jaunt testify, they’ll soon have to graduate to bigger venues. That would be thoroughly deserved because their career has been characterised by an uncompromising ethic, yet if they did play larger halls I’m sure that they’d lose a certain something. Such is the confrontational nature of their music, that this is one show that’s best experienced up close and personal, in a clammy venue with the ceiling dripping sweat and the band hurling all sorts of sonic obscenities in your direction. That’s exactly what they deliver tonight and, as soon as the first chord of YAKITORI rings out (and I mean the very first chord), the crowd erupts like a primed bomb with plenty of moshing and slam-dancing. With the band locking in tightly, their chaotic-but-controlled ethos can be quite disorientating and you get the feeling that their sound is teetering of the edge of a canyon, but it’s testament to their skill that they keep it permanently poised in such a position throughout the entire show.
Otoboke Beaver are an irrepressible force of nature, and 22 tracks performed in one frenetic hour should tell you all you need know. Guitarist Yoyoyoshie is like a younger Angus Young (after imbibing amphetamines) and writhes rhythmically whilst pulling some impossible sounds from her instrument. However, star of the show is drummer Kahokiss who plays with her foot in a brace, but you’d never guess; her timing remains impeccable, and she’s ably supplemented by bassist Hiro-Chan. What I really miss from the band’s early days is vocalist Accorinrin’s guitar playing, as it made a nice foil to the more expansive playing of Yoyoyoshie, but on the flip side it’s allowed her to become unfettered and to get up close and personal with the crowd. Tonight’s set is a career-spanner with older tracks rubbing shoulders with the new and, with the songs delivered in quick succession, offers little in the way of respite, only adding to the feeling of urgency. あなたわたし抱いたあとよめのめし (Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi) brings the set to a shuddering conclusion, ensuring no one leaves disappointed.