@ The Water Rats 27/11/03
first thing that really struck me about Guitar Vader was that they
had a compere introducing them onto stage. The second was that they
didnt need one. People were by the stage, eagerly waiting,
despite the girls from support act Mika Bomb attracting a throng
of attention around the mixing desk. What was it I didnt know
about this band?
Guitar Vader are a three-piece hailing
from Japan, and tonight was their first UK gig. However, as I now
realise, they are one of the biggest underground bands
that part of the world has to offer. Equally, just typing their
name into Google reveals that they are far from unknown over here.
Described by an English fan site as the best at what they
are, theyve had songs in SEGA and X Box games, and you
can even download their tabs off the internet.
Their set up is the simplest of the
simple - guitar, bass, drums - without anything more elaborate than
a RAT pedal, or a song longer than 3 minutes, in sight. However,
not only is this the height of fashion at the moment, in this case,
it really works. In one respect they are the band Bis always wanted
to be; they share that boy kinda singing, diminutive girl kinda
screeching idea. With Bis, this was so sugar coated, and played
over music so nauseating, it made you want to hurt those closest
to you. Tonight Guitar Vader issue forth bursts of brooding, shouting,
indie rock with loads of tempo, loads of fuzz bass, and clashing,
Whilst the band did look a little bit
nervous on stage, they had no reason to. Songs like Super
Brother stepped out of the ordinary by going into completely
contrasting sections at the flick of a switch. One minute youre
in a plummeting lift, the next minute youre on a Stairmaster.
Whilst their music was not necessarily the most original, the flourishes
they put into it made it special. Overdriven funky patterns on bass
are a great way to keep you warm when its cold outside, and
Yoshi makes Guitar Vaders drums prolific where bands like
the Hives would only be economical. Overall, good comparisons can
be made with Bossa Nova era Pixies, and the really acerbic
end of Supergrass.
Tonight it felt like the Water Rats
was hosting an event, and that's how gigs should feel. Guitar Vader
have mastered the art of having that burning desire to be bad ass
rock stars, whilst being as cute as cherry pie (a trick Ash learnt
years ago). People moshed, people sang, and when an enthusiastic
Yoshi took photos of the crowd it was clear that they had been having
as much fun as we had.
By Jim Brunsden