Indie/electro clubs in Japan?
January 12, 2010 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend good clubs in Japan (especially Tokyo) that play music that would appeal to your typical Pitchfork reader? I'm thinking along the lines of indie electro/pop/rock music, a bit of hip hop in there, and maybe some older favourites.
posted by teem to Travel & Transportation around Japan (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'd find some band websites you like that are touring/will be touring Japan and look up where they'll play.
posted by bardic at 8:25 PM on January 12, 2010

I've barely scratched the surface on Tokyo nightlife, but I'll try to help. I can't think of anyplace off the top of my head that plays such a diverse selection, but Tokyo is big - I'm sure there's a club like that somewhere.

As I recall, Club Harlem in Shibuya is supposed to have a lot of hip-hop.
La Fabrique is another club in Shibuya. Never been, so I don't know what kind of music they play.
Spacelab Yellow in Roppongi is pretty well-known - I think they feature a lot of electronic artists. Not sure about the name, might just be called "Yellow".
I think Milk is also pretty well-known, and their music might be a little more varied. Not sure where they are located exactly.
posted by photo guy at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2010

My first reaction to this question was, no, the Japanese indie scene is not what a Pitchfork reader would expect, just give up and embrace the Orange Range.

However, the Tokyo gig guide tells me that there will be some good shows in the near future.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:40 PM on January 12, 2010

I'm not quite your typical Pitchfork reader, but I do check that site pretty often. I was in Tokyo a few months ago and caught a show at Antiknock, right near Shinjuku station. It leans heavily towards live punk and hardcore bands, but I really enjoyed that place.
posted by dogwalker at 6:55 AM on January 13, 2010

Seconding the recommendation above for Tokyo Gig Guide. It'll be indispensable if you're really looking to get out and see gigs in Tokyo. For one thing, it can be damn hard just to find venues here, and TGG usually has written directions, in English, to the venues they list. And usually links to maps, in English whenever possible.

One thing to keep in mind is that many (not all, but many) clubs in Tokyo don't necessarily have a genre-specific booking policy. They're often just businesses happy to book anything that'll bring in people, so the venue that might be presenting your favorite post-rock outfit out of Chicago one night might be booking a vijuaru-kei band the next.

In Japan, also, what we call a club (that is, one with live music) is usually called a "live house". Good luck in your search.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2010

Speaking of which ...(which?), well Tokyo clubs, we're going there on March 27th for around 6 days and I've looked up a few clubs on that gig site (because of listening to YOUR MUSIC, flapjax, which I love), and they seem to be very very very expensive, like the equivalent of $65US to get in plus a drink?

Can you (or anyone else here) recommend any places we could go to to hear some interesting (like, for example, yours) music while we are in Tokyo that don't cost an arm and a leg? We are me, my husband Mr. Obscure Reference, and our17-year-old rocker son.

Thanks. Oh! and is there a minimum age to get into these place? in New York City where we live our son is often excluded because he is neither 18 nor 21 (depending on the venue's rules).
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:15 AM on February 10, 2010

DMelanogaster, great to hear that you'll be coming to Tokyo with a mission of checking out some live music. Thanks also for your kind words about my music. I do in fact have something booked for March 28, it'll be an evening of jaw harp music at a cozy little place called Gamuso in Asagaya. There'll be about 5 acts on the bill that night, including yours truly. All manner of mouth harp players!

Otherwise, I can surely point you toward some venues that won't cost an arm and a leg and will have some interesting stuff going on. And yes, your son is in luck because minors can go virtually anywhere in Japan as long as they're with you. I take my 9-year-old to my gigs with some ferquency, it's no problem at all.

Why don't you drop me some Mefimail, lemme know in what part of town you'll be staying (if you know that yet). We can be in touch.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 PM on February 10, 2010

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