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Surf Coasters / Miami  venue: Marble  place: Shinjuku date: October 23rd (Sat)


Shoot My Disco are already well underway when we arrive, and their irrepressibly bouncy blend of new wave guitar pop and playground hip-hop is already proving a big hit with the audience in this somewhat crowded Shinjuku Marble. All three members of the band take turns at the mic in an endearingly old-skool, tag-team kind of way, and the frenetic drumming mixes the best bits of post-punk and madchester, bringing a fair bit of New Order to mind, especially when the bass slips into its rumbling, Hook-esque groove. It's brilliantly uncool and as catchy as hell.

Mosquito are unstoppable today; their usual wild, meandering, psychedelic dance-pop visually supplemented on either side of the stage by a cycling sequence of paintings courtesy of Yoan from Frottage, whose silent, lab-coated presence stage left provides an inert counterpoint to the expressionism of both the art and the music. "Lie Lie" is still a pop masterpiece, but it's their destructive final run through "Like" that splatters the back wall of the venue, Pollack style, with a hundred blown minds. Kaoru squeezes all manner of explosive bursts of noise from his guitar and Shihomi is bent over her keyboard, her fingers lovingly teasing from it cascading waterfalls of discord as the song finally collapses to a close.

Schoolgirl 69 pick up the indie dance baton where Mosquito left it, but lacking the style, wit and charm of their predecessors they fail to start any fires and as a result their set goes nowhere. That's not to say that there's anything unpleasant about their music; it's all very nice, and there are plenty of people dancing in that bouncy, shuffling way that Japanese kids love to do. It's just that we already have one Supercar, and no-one asked for another one.

Another thing that no-one asked for was Hondalady, but we've got them anyway. They have the worst fashion of any band tonight, and have all the tunefuness and musical invention of a deaf tortoise, but when they stop trying to be a punk band and just let the titanic electro beats and silly dancing take over they have a certain charm.

Possessed of both a certain charm and also bags of musical ability and creativity are Miami. Coming on like a kind of older Halcali with talent, Miami are two girls, both confusngly called Ai, who bring together a sparse mixture of electronic beats and blips, overlaid with violin and lightning-speed MCing that plays back and forth between them. They both look as nervous as hell, but it shows not one jot in their performance. It's all expertly put together and, most importantly, shitloads of fun.

Last up, a little confusingly given the overwhelmingly dance orientated line-up so far, are the Surf Coasters. Sharply dressed, and unremittingly brilliant, they settle immediately into the atmosphere Miami have left and, while surf guitar music is by its very nature unbelievably repetitive, it is in its own way one of the purest forms of dance music out there. There are screaming girls and synchronised stage moves. They cover Dick Dale's "Misirlou" (Stop the press! Surf Band Covers "Misirlou"!) and they are showbiz enough to allow themselves to be summoned back for an encore even though only about five people were really bothering to demand one. Fun. - Ian Martin, Nov.07.04.

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