It seems Made in Japan either have a lot of friends and relatives or word has spread quickly of their music because on Friday night the Annandale sold out and the vibe was electric to say the least.
First up was Pappa Gette and the Black Hats who played on the main stage to a decent sized crowd considering they were the first support act of the night. Their music is purely instrumental rock with enticing soundscapes and an atmospheric vibe. It’s perfect soundtrack music, you know the kind where the lead male/female is walking and thinking about situation x which is causing great emotional distress. Maybe there is rain involved or a dark city street. Anyway the point is that this is ambient and thought provoking music. The only problem was the lack of connection between the band and the audience. Whether this was on purpose or not who knows.
Meanwhile on the other stage Former Child Stars kept things fun with some catchy indie pop rock. Lead singer Luke was very energetic which worked well with the upbeat vibe and gave the crowd a nice segue between acts. Theirs is the kind of music that makes you want to dance, well this crowd didn’t but I’m sure they secretly wanted to. At times the keys seemed a bit overpowering but other than that it was a tight, enjoyable set.
Songs for Surgery were up next taking things back to the Pappa Gette and the Black Hats vibe with plenty of instrumentals and minimal, slightly droned vocals. A smoke machine enhanced the laidback surfer/stoner vibe as the crowd continued to grow. More gigs will surely see these guys becoming more confident and cohesive as a band and may even mean more money to replace the makeshift milk crate stand used to mount the synth.
After just the right amount of buildup, and an impromptu audience game of goon bag volleyball, Made in Japan took to the stage and opened with the track Invertuoso. The crowd went crazy and the band was very obviously reviling in the admiration. The mosh pulsed right through Evening Weather and Interscope with James Cooney leading the crowd into an impressive drum solo especially considering his joint roll as singer/drummer. Vocal control and physical exertion are not the most cohesive pairing but Cooney balances the two with ease. Supported by some epic bass lines and catchy, danceable guitar hooks the Annandale shook to its core with the band and the punters in perfect synch.
Throughout the set Made In Japan proved without doubt that they have grown and developed as a band in the short time they have been on the scene. The set was tighter, the guys seemed more comfortable on stage and the music, well it’s only a matter of time before it’s featured on mp3 players across the country. Big call? Maybe. But one this reviewer is willing to stand by.
Photo by Jay Wilson