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Sunday, July 31, 2005



Dawn of New Wave

If you're reading this on Sunday then most likely you're not at the Fuji Rock Festival this weekend. But if you're kicking yourself for not having made the trip to Naeba, you still have a chance to enjoy at least a fraction of the Fuji fun, because six bands who are playing at the festival will be doing Tokyo before heading home.

News photo
The Kaiser Chiefs

Which happens to be England. All the groups playing at the Dawn of New Wave nights this week are British and have released debut albums in the past year; three, in fact, are short-listed for the 2005 Mercury Prize. So in addition to lingering in the post-Fuji buzz, you get a preview of the next big thing in U.K. rock.

Headlining Volume 2 (there is no Volume 1, so please don't ask again) are The Kaiser Chiefs, the Leeds quintet who channel the 1980s with a wink and a nod and have a clearer idea of what it was that made groups like A-Ha popular without falling victim to their cutesy aesthetic. In a similar vein, The Bravery have studied the elastic pop of Duran Duran in their prime. This should make them an ideal '80s cover band, but since most of the artists they resemble are cashing in on their own nostalgia value, The Bravery are forced to be original, which doesn't make them brave, only shrewd. The evening is rounded out by The Black Velvets, who are about as new wave as The Black Crowes -- whom they sort of resemble around the edges.

Volume 3 features The Futureheads, whose Gang of Four postpunk pedigree is deeper than the Bloc Party's principally because their debut was produced by Go4 guitarist Andy Gill. The Go! Team have already been lionized in these pages, so we'll just add that they live up to the hype and then some. The coup de gra^ce is The Magic Numbers, four longhairs who harmonize with all the enthusiasm of the Mamas and the Papas and sing irresistibly sunny songs that might remind you of early Van Morrison. Old wave is the new New Wave! And vice versa.

Dawn of New Wave Vol. 2: Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m., Shibuya AX, Tokyo; Dawn of New Wave Vol. 3: Aug. 2 at 6:30 p.m., Ebisu Liquid Room, Tokyo. Tickets for each concert are 6,000 yen in advance. For more information, call Smash at (03) 3444-6751.

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