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Ken Yokoyama

I think that one must be Mt Fuji!

Ken Yokoyama burst onto the stage this evening in a blaze of heavy guitars, accompanied by bass player Serge Verkhovsky, guitarist Colin Doyle and Masatoshi "Gunn" Ishida" on drums. Together they are sometimes known as Ken Band, but usually appear under Yokoyama's name. They were met by light rain that had been falling for about half an hour, and steadily grew heavier over the course of the set. This did nothing at all to put off the "raincoat brigade" who filled the green stage jumping around like the mad clowns that they are. In the moshpit it was a different story, though only slightly; more jumping around, less raincoats. Yokoyama and Verkhovsky enjoyed a good rapport throughout the show, with several observances between them keeping the crowd entertained. By the end of one such exchange, they had decided exactly which mountain visible from the Green stage was Mt Fuji. I had been wondering which one it was myself!

Ken is well known in the punk circles of Japan. Former member of the highly regarded Hi Standard, and frontman for the occasional performances & releases of BBQ Chickens, he is a charismatic leader of the band, and you can't help but like him by the end of one of his sets. At the mid way point of the set, he pulled his guitar over his head and promptly began banging it on said head chanting "Punk rock! Punk rock!" They played a great set including 'Believer' and the raucus cover of 'Can't take my eyes off of you' that they're famous for. Verkhovsky did vocal duties in the only Japanese lyriced song of the set, a cover that I couldn't quite place, but I think (mistakenly, no doubt) that it may have been a Weezer number.

The moshpit action was very lively, with seemingly at least two crowd surfers riding their fellow moshers every time I looked in that direction. But it was hard to keep my eyes off the stage with the crazy antics of Doyle, screaming back & forth and jumping in the air. Verkhovsky is more sedate in his actions, and Ishida was working hard behind his kit. But it is definitely Yokoyama who is the leader of this group, and not hard to see why one can wear a T-shirt advertising any one of his bands in a far flung country, and have random people asking you to sell it to them.

Punk rock! Punk rock!!!

Report by Dom.


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