In the wide world of independent music, the Japanese music scene and the Canadian music scene rarely collide—in fact, they are on opposite sides of the planet. While music in Japan flourishes, it goes largely unheard by North America.
Though bands like Shugo Tokumaru, Shonen Knife, or Cornelius are not household names in Canada, they are prominent Japanese bands that have succeeded in the difficult task of making their presence known in North America. The music scene in Japan is saturated with talent and only the strongest stand out. Taking the extra leap to tour in North America is yet another hurdle.
Next Music From Tokyo
There is one aid for dedicated Tokyo bands that want to try their style with Canadian audiences. It is an annual, cross-Canada tour called Next Music From Tokyo and is currently the only event of its kind. It aims to bring interest to Tokyo’s growing music scene through a series of concerts in three of Canada’s major cities: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The event, single-handedly organized by Steven Tanaka, is rapidly growing in popularity, proving that there is definitely a market in Canada for Japanese independent music. Fans of the event have been waiting for its return since Next Music from Tokyo, Vol. 3 was here last October. All shows in that tour were well received, especially at The Rivoli in Toronto, which sold out with 40 people over capacity. The Vancouver show at the Biltmore was also packed. Looking around at the crowd, it was apparent that most of the audience had no idea what to expect, but in the end they were blown away by the performances.
This year, Next Music from Tokyo, Vol. 4 will feature four thriving new bands: group_inou, Charan Po Rantan, Praha Depart, and Zazen Boys. Each band is known for their high stage energy and complex sound. Their unusual flairs are sure to infuse Vancouver venues with fresh sounds. Be sure not to miss this annual music explosion.