Punk music is alive and well and living in Osaka; its name is Otoboke Beaver. The advance press couched them in novelty terms: a quartet of office workers who can only tour internationally during the long national holidays, due to cultural mores discouraging taking undue time off work. It all promised something halfway between David Brent and 9 to 5: The Musical, where in fact what descended upon the CCA that night was closer to Napalm Death as fronted by the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket.
From the second they took the stage, it was clear that this was going to be like nothing else on earth. Their music combined the rawness and sheer undiluted rage of punk with the shifting time signatures and complex structures of mathcore, all presented alongside a sometimes rigorously choreographed, sometimes stunningly shambolic performance style which simultaneously resembled The Supremes, a self-defence course and the last five minutes of an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.
None of this could have been predicted only an hour before, as hometown punk performers Breakfast MUFF began working their way through a prolific back catalogue amassed over three years. Pausing frequently to swap guitar, bass and drumming duties between band members, they rounded off their curtailed half-hour with intersectional new single track, R U A Feminist? – chorus: ‘You’re not a f*****g feminist! You’re not a f*****g feminist!’ – giving the audience a fleeting glimpse of things to come.
Busan band Say Sue Me were the decidedly mainstream midpoint of the evening, which isn’t saying all that much given the competition. But they easily held their own through a solid series of everything’s-gonna-be-alright, slightly surf-sounding tunes which, when undercut with deadpan lyric delivery and combined with titles such as Let’s Don’t Say Anything, I Know I’m Kind of Boring and Sorry That I’m Drunk, lent a charming sort of self-deprecatory quality to the proceedings.
At any other gig, either of them would get more copy than they will here. But when you’re up against a singer called Accorinrin who closes off the night with her fists pressed hard against each other, staring daggers at the audience – or a guitarist called Yoyoyoshie who can play solos whilst crowdsurfing and scream hard enough to be heard above machine-gun music even when far off-mic – then, frankly, you don’t stand a chance, pal.
All hail Otoboke Beaver: four women from Japan who literally do not have time for your s**t.
For more on Otoboke Beaver and their touring dates click here.