Kemuri @ Shin-Kiba Studio Coast (Feb. 28th, 2015)

Spreading positvity since 1995
Live Report : “Spreading Positivity since 1995″ @ Shin-Kiba Studio Coast 2015.02.28

Kemuri

Kemuri’s slogan and a phrase seen plastered on T-shirts all around a capacity Studio Coast is “positive mental attitude”. This phrase wasn’t exactly invented by Kemuri, but they represent the principles well. Their music and especially their live show exudes a great feeling of PMA. It’s a mantra the band has lived by and is perhaps the reason Kemuri has kept going this long, now in their 20th year together. I’m sure it was the reason they went on hiatus in 2007, not looking to end on a down note but keep things upbeat. Living the PMA lifestyle, striving for an outlet to spread their brand of positivity ultimately led the band back in 2012 with a renewed sense of energy.

The spirt of ska-punk is all about this happy feeling. Made popular in the 90′s, in the west coast of the USA, this style of combining elements of punk rock and ska when done right creates a vibe like Kemuri no other. Many ska influenced bands take their sound in a direction more towards punk or more towards ska but Kemuri gets it just right. The have the intense raw energy of punk rock, but also the chilled backbeat flow of classic ska.

American bands such as Skankin’ Pickle, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake all found great success in getting this magical combination just right also and certainly must have had some influence on Kemuri growing up in the 90′s (I mention these bands specifically for a reason we’ll get to later). Ska-punk, while often technically and lyrically simple is about a feeling, a vibe and an experience. It’s a culture of skanking, dancing, surfing, skating and having a good time. Tonight at Studio Coast everyone was locked onto that same vibe the whole set through. Kemuri’s energy and enthusiasm represent this culture of positivity perfectly.

Although they are now 20 years in the business, they don’t take anything for granted, the band is very thankful and grateful to be able to not only continue, but also move forward. They’re a band who look to be truly enjoying themselves up on stage, this feeling of joy is highly infectious to anyone around them. Kemuri is on heels of their 10th studio album, Rampant. Tonight’s show saw them play every track off the new album as well as many other fans favourites including “New Generation”, their cover of Rancid’s “Time Bomb” and their long time set closer “Ato-Ichinen”. Their set took us through waves of uptempo Kemuri skanky goodness to laid back dubby head bobbers and circle pit bangers. Kemuri fans of all ages kept the venue hot and sticky from the crowd surfers up front to the oringal headz singing along in the rafters, there wasn’t a sour face in the building.

The band is finishing up a Japan wide tour, but there’s no rest in the pursuit of PMA. In a solemn moment working the mic during the encore, frontman Fumio Ito shared the band’s gratitude in fulfilling their dream of playing to a packed Studio Coast, while boasting of a few upcoming achievements. First, they are off to the west coast of the US to play a number of shows next month. Then they’re going to be working on a new album and finally they are bringing some of their original ska heroes back here to Japan in September for a skataveganza featuring aforementioned ska-punk legends, Skankin’ Pickle, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake. For ska-punk lovers and anyone looking to ride the waves of positivity it’s a show that’s not to be missed.

*Photos by Terumi Fukano and Wataru Umeda courtesy of Smash

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Photos:
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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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