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Friday, Oct. 10, 2008
The semiannual rock show "British Anthems" is a bargain: For the price of a major headliner you get to see four or five up-and-coming U.K. bands. Given the fickle nature of the British rock press, which declares some new band the greatest thing since The Smiths at least once a month, there's no reason to assume that any of these hopefuls are going to make it, but Maximo Park and Los Campesinos! were openers at past BA shows, and they're fairly successful, so who knows? You may see the greatest thing since The Smiths.
Volume 6's headliner is that warhorse of the late Madchester scene, The Charlatans. Fairweather fans have found the band less compelling since the 1996 death of Rob Collins and the attendant loss of his monstrous Hammond organ, but the band still impress with that big psychedelic sound of theirs.
Among the new bands, the one with the biggest buzz is The Troubadours, a Liverpool-based quartet whose revivalist tendencies favor The Hollies. The band mean to appropriate music their parents are convinced can never be improved upon and make it sound original again, but the effort shows, and if you listen to a Hollies song right after hearing them, you'll realize the limits of such an approach. Lightspeed Champion's Devonte Hynes was a member of Test Icicles, a band that played British Anthems Vol. 1 in 2006. His solo stuff is less eccentric than "the Icicles," and a lot more folksy. The Metros are a guitar band who probably couldn't care less if they never make it to their second album — they're just happy to be playing for money in the here-and-now, and that's a reliable bet for this sort of show. The lineup is completed by Big Strides, who play jazzy rock on a hip-hop tip, and Base Ball Bear, a Japanese group who started out as an Oasis cover band. Aren't Oasis supposed to be the greatest thing since The Smiths? "British Anthems" is held Nov. 16 at Studio Coast in Shin Kiba, Tokyo (2 p.m.; ¥6,500;  3462-6969).
The Charlatans also play Nov. 17 at Nagoya Club Quattro (7:30 p.m.;  264-8211); and Nov. 19 at Shinsaibashi Club Quattro, Osaka (7 p.m.;  6281-8181). Tickets are ¥6,300.
The Troubadours and The Metros play Nov. 17 at Shinsaibashi Club Quattro, Osaka (7 p.m.;  6281-8181); Nov. 18 at Nagoya Club Quattro (7 p.m.;  264-8211); and Nov. 19 at Shibuya Duo Music Exchange, Tokyo (7 p.m.;  3462-6969). Tickets are ¥5,500
Lightspeed Champion play Nov. 17 at Harajuku Astro Hall, Tokyo (7 p.m.; 900;  3462-6969.) Tickets are ¥3,900
Big Strides play Nov. 14 at Harajuku Astro Hall, Tokyo (7 p.m.;  3462-6969). Tickets are ¥5,000