DMBQ literally on fire at the Entry last night


DMBQ / 7th St. Entry / May 23, 2007 Text by Nate Patrin | Photos by Daniel Corrigan

Like many countries, Japan boasted a rich but largely-overlooked heavy metal and acid rock scene in the late '60s and early '70s: Flower Travellin' Band, Blues Creation and Speed, Glue & Shinki are all groups that deserve to have their works reissued stateside at non-import prices. It's easy enough to say that DMBQ follow in their footsteps—their set at the Entry on Wednesday frequently evoked the same Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin references that their last-generation predecessors did—but bellbottoms and flower prints notwithstanding, they're not a gimmicky throwback. Unless gimmicky throwbacks are capable of making the kind of racket that threatens to cave in your ribcage.

Billed on their website as the missing link between Tokyo's noise and garage-rock scenes, DMBQ used feedback and echo and sheer force of volume with an aggression that would terrify your average jam band. In this context, their closest American cousins would probably be Comets on Fire, largely because lead singer and guitarist Shinji Masuko has the same bent for wraithlike howls, mach-speed freakouts, and grotesque guitar distortion that Ethan Miller possesses.

The other members easily kept pace: second guitarist Toru Matsui was a berserk showman, frequently playing while holding his guitar in his teeth. Bassist Ryuichi Watanabe (who, between his heroically colossal curly locks and his headlamp goggles, looked like a safecracker Phil Lynott) pogoed around the stage with so much abandon it's almost inexplicable he didn't cause any injuries. And drummer Shinji Wada—who took on the heavy task of replacing Mana Nishiura, the ex-Shonen Knife drummer who was killed in a car accident while touring the U.S. with DMBQ in 2005—simultaneously stereo-channeled Bill Ward and Tony Williams. (Any night where opener Gay Witch Abortion's Shaun Walker is merely the second-wildest drummer is a damn good night.)

Together, they leapt about in thrashing choreography that swiped kabuki back from KISS before spilling off the stage to hit the crowd head-on. Masuko finished the set the only way anybody really could hope to justifiably conclude this kind of wave of sonic destruction: he put on a gas mask, made demonic noises through a filtered mic, then stood upon the drum kit and put a lighter to his pubic hair.

Text by Nate Patrin | Photos by Daniel Corrigan