Published May 20, 2018Closing out the festival's evening of Japanese music, and capably saving it from slight disappointment, were Oni and Pika, collectively known as Afrirampo. The guitar/drums/vocals duo are an explosion of cartoonish energy and mad noise-rock skill with a penchant for Saturday morning kid show theatre and fucking shit up. In short they could definitely make or irrevocably break any child's birthday party.
Starting out with a less-than-successful attempt at engaging the somewhat groggy late night crowd (mostly seated), the pair nonetheless quickly beat them into joyful focus with a blistering and precise set that paused occasionally for more brief sketches involving apple-eating and indoor umbrellas.
In matching jumpers and garish makeup, they managed to embody clumsy and overly enthusiastic tweens that are able to outplay Lightning Bolt or Hella with what felt like a cabaret tribute to Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's bonkers film Hausu. Performing David Lee Roth-quality high kicks and synchronized leaps (Pika from her seat behind the drums), it was like the stage were hot lava.
With an extended closer dealing with the stars, Pika and Oni shifted from sappy smile-inducing sweetness to barely contained ferocity that left the crowd with either their jaws on their tables or holding their bellies, laughing with abandon. Or like they'd just consumed an overdose of pop rocks doused in Sriracha. Not bad for the dozy bunch they had difficulty coaxing into exclaiming "Je t'aime" just one hour earlier.