Rockbrat Live Review: Show-Ya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan – Saturday 17 December 2011

Show-Ya: One of Japan's greatest ever rock n roll outfits !

Being a girl-band geek lifer, it was only a matter of time before I zeroed in on Show-Ya.
Although I had picked up one of their CD’s some years back, they had vanished from my rock n roll radar – until I relocated back to Japan about a year ago. There is much to like about this band. They have been around for nearly three decades and this wealth of experience shows through in their live performances. It would be easy to describe Show-Ya as a band who outgrew their mid-80’s pop roots and evolved into a loud, leather clad late-80’s metal outfit – one who had their sights aimed at the lucrative US hard rock and metal market. This is true – and although they never did crack the U.S, they remain something of a rock and roll icon in their homeland.
They have a back catalogue crammed with loud, hook-laden hard rock tunage and have a large and loyal local fan base. This was evident at tonight’s show as tee-shirts had completely sold-out at their merch stand. Although remembered and much-loved here, bands like this are careful not to oversaturate their fan-base and play live only sporadically. I had last seen them on a steamy night in late September and here they were back at Blaze, for their final show of 2011.  Seeing live music in Japan is expensive. Show-Ya, at 5000yen ($50US) is indeed value for money, but you are then usually hit with a compulsory one-drink purchase of 500yen. If you add train fares, food, booze and merch – you won’t get much change from 10’000 yen. Shoganei ne. This venue is situated on the edge of seedy Kabuki-cho and some fans were lining up a good couple of hours before show time. This area is an ideal setting for loud rock n roll, and makes me think back to seeing bands in Sydney’s Kings Cross in the late 80’s. Anything you desire can be found here. It’s a mix of neon, brothels, hostess bars, clubs, pubs, pachinko, pimps, restaurants and more. You can even buy a foot massage performed by small fish or sit and drink coffee in a room surrounded by kittens. Only in Japan. So after a diet of burgers and that black mood-enhancer called Guinness, I once again dive into the Blaze live-house. The place is already packed and after an intro tape of Kiss, Zep and a totally unneccessary airing of Purple’s Smoke on the water, Show-Ya crash the stage at 5:30PM.  I am sure it is illegal for women in their mid-late 40’s to look this good. When I think of some of the swamp-donkeys I once worked with of the same age who’d wear sweat pants to the office, require two chairs to sit on and be on all kinds of benefits. FMD. That’s not a fair comparison is it ! Ha ! Show-Ya churn out a solid mix of great hard rock and metal and perform it damn well. All are amazing musicians and foxy vocalist Keiko Terada has a great stage presence. Strong vocals too. tonight I  was in the company of an old co-hort from NYC who happens to be a translator (he once knocked around with Johnny Thunders’ younger cousin but that story another time). His linguistic ability was very useful tonight as I got much of Terada’s between-song banter quickly relayed to me ! Seems that the band are in fact working on a new album ! Great ! It MUST be the festive season. Some of these new tunes were aired tonight and sounded very appealing to this old rock dog. Throw in many of the bands classics – such as Back To The Fire and Watashi wa Arashi and you had a memorable evening of fiery, she-powered rock n roll ! If you live in Japan and have a love for loud, melodic, guitar-fuelled rock n roll, I encourage you to seek out Show-Ya. You will not be disappointed.

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