Welcome to the wonderful world of Otoboke Beaver. The all-female quartet is currently out on a whistle-stop, pan-global 24,000 mile round trip from their native Japan. Their Attyuuma (Blink of an eye) tour takes in three mid-week dates here in the UK – of which tonight’s show in Leeds is the middle leg – bookended by two Saturday appearances at California’s famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival where they share a bill with no less than Beyoncé.
Taking their name from one of the love hotels local to their hometown of Kyoto, Otoboke Beaver is probably not lost in translation. And the music that Accorinrin (lead vocals and guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar and vocals), Hiro-chan (bass and vocals) and Pop (drums and vocals) create is similarly unambiguous. It is raw like sushi, an undiluted welter of noise that pummels the listener into helpless submission.
Otoboke Beaver emerged out of the Kansai triangle underground music scene in 2009, but it is perhaps only within the last couple of years that they have become more widely recognised outside of their home country. Their sound is a frantic blur of primaeval garage-punk, new wave, no wave, J-pop and the avant-garde, moving way beyond the constraints of simple genre categorisation and arriving at a point where angular anarchy and Frank Zappa can happily co-exist.
Their songs speak of the vagaries of love and the human condition, viewed from a fiercely female perspective. In concert, these words – sung in a strange, hypnotic hybrid of Japanese and Kyoto slang – are enshrined in an incendiary racket and married to an extraordinarily energetic visual spectacle.
Yoyoyoshie, in particular, is an absolute maelstrom of motion as the band tear through a large hatful of songs at what are dangerously high speeds and with nary a pause for breath. Each individual tune is very hard-pushed to crest the rise of two minutes duration and by the end of this joyfully insane performance, you are left struggling for air and desperately in search of the nearest cardiopulmonary resuscitation chamber.
“Don’t ever say goodbye to rock’n’roll.” And with these words, Yoyoyoshie again launches herself into the crowd and from whose outstretched arms she then proceeds to take a selfie. Welcome to the wonderful world of Otoboke Beaver.
Photo: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found HERE