Wednesday 7 October 2009

Girls and boys at Highti

I searched the industrial area along the Arakawa, riding my bike around some rusty buildings stinking of cooking oil until someone finally pointed out the abandoned-looking building Highti was in. No sign, no signs of life. A rickety stairwell lead to a makeshift space on the second floor, lit by a couple of bare lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling. I put my 500yen donation in the cup and bought some 200yen cans of happoshu.

First up was legend of the Tokyo underground scene, Samm Bennett, tonight playing some great bluesy American folk on his amazing instrument called the strumstick.

Samm was joined by his wife Haruna Ito next for SKIST. They played experimental drones, rhythms, harmonies and hums with various toys, fans, unusual instruments, bassdrum, walkie-talkies, strumstick, vocals, loops, effects and bits of plastic.

Two girl-boy duos form Brisbane in Australia played next. The first was Do The Robot, sitting across from each other and singing to each other, her on toy keyboard and sampler, and him on shoegazey guitar. Very sweet indie pop. More gorgeous shoegaze guitars were next with The Rational Academy who usually play as a louder band but were performing tonight as a 2 piece. Delicate vocals and music to make you melt, or dance as Samm's daughter was doing.

Just to throw things way back out there and remind us we were in a semi-ruined building in the middle of nowhere, the incredibly odd ju sei played next. Another male-female duo, they both sang and yelped and made great sweet weird incredibly original pop. Where do they come from?

Hard to find and no beer at the bar, but otherwise Highti was a great underground music and art spot I'm keen to visit again. I'd never been to a place quite like it.

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