Published Oct 07, 2010Though Next Music from TOKYO has quite a ways to go before it hits the same attendance numbers as the Warped Tour, or even Lilith Fair, the fact that the Canadian package tour of all-Japanese acts is launching its second campaign just a few months after its inaugural jaunt last May shows promise. Created by Toronto, ON promoter Steven Tanaka, the self-financed venture aims to showcase a host of acts that would go otherwise unnoticed outside of their native country.
"One day, I just thought that not enough people in Canada realize how awesome the music scene is in Japan," Tanaka tells Exclaim! in a recent interview before explaining his game plan. "I'd take my money and fly out four to five bands to Canada and have them perform in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and hopefully spur some interest in Japanese indie music."
While last spring's tour only played to a couple of hundred people in small clubs across the country, Tanaka was pleased to have brought out as many people as he did. Especially when you factor in that he did everything, from booking the shows to acting as both tour manager and roadie, without any outside help or sponsorship.
"I didn't want to get corporate sponsors," he says. "I wanted to promote it largely by word of mouth. None of the shows were sold out [last May], but close."
Hoping to bring back anyone who caught the last showcase, as well as those with a keen interest in Tokyo's thriving indie rock scene, Tanaka feels this fall's four-band line-up - anchored by pop punkers Mass of the Fermenting Dregs - delivers the goods.
"I'm focusing on indie acts that probably can't afford to come to Canada by themselves, but deserve to. Almost all of the bands I have seen multiple times. I recognize them as truly excellent stage performers."
In addition to the manic headliners, each evening will include veteran post-rock outfit Sgt., the aggressive emo rock of Susquatch and funk duo Uhnellys.
While Tanaka admits that calling the tour Next Music from TOKYO is a bit of a misnomer - Sgt. have been playing together for over a decade - he hopes the trip brings some new sounds to North American music fans.
"It's still an underground event. I want to establish bands here on a grassroots level instead of having it become a fad. I just want to slowly develop a genuine interest in Japanese indie music."
Check out Next Music from TOKYO in your town:
10/14 Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
10/16 Toronto, ON - The Rivoli
10/17 Toronto, ON - The Velvet Underground
10/18 Montreal, QC - Club Lambi