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Friday, March 27, 2009
Spring has finally arrived. Birds are singing, cherry trees are blooming, the bass is pumping and anthemic chants of "oi" are echoing through the air.
If you're puzzled by how the latter two fit in with the change of season you're obviously not familiar with the popular, large-scale urban and punk festivals Springroove and Punkspring. The fourth edition of the April concerts feature full-day, multistage events in Chiba and smaller gigs in Nagoya and Osaka.
Springroove's biggest draw is headliner T-Boz and Chilli from TLC, the popular female group. T-Boz and Chilli have gigged sporadically following the death of TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in a car accident in 2002. Their last proper concert was in New York in 2003, but they reunited for live appearances in 2005 and 2008. The duo's Springroove set will reportedly include 17 songs and a tribute performance to Left Eye. Whether a simple cash grab, a way to promote their upcoming solo efforts or an honest desire to honor Left Eye likely matters not to the thousands who will go bananas for each nostalgic TLC hit from the 1990s. R&B vocalist Craig David, soul singer John Legend and Osaka-born reggae-pop artist Pushim are also scheduled to appear.
While it lacks Springroove's aura, raucous, spiky-haired youth will find plenty of acts to happily mosh along to at Punkspring. Ramones' drummer Marky Ramone and British goth-influenced punkers The Damned will play the role of the genre's elder statesman alongside contemporary icons Bad Religion and San Francisco-based NOFX, who celebrated their 25th anniversary in February and will release their 12th studio record, "Coaster," on April 28. Expect to hear humorous, snotty skateboard-inspired samples from the disc at Punkspring. Young guns like Chicago post-hardcore band Madina Lake, Osaka pop-punks Good 4 Nothing and Yokohama emo act 9mm Parabellum Bullet will help narrow the generation gap between the seasoned vets and the attendees.
Springroove 09 is April 4 at Makuhari Messe, Chiba (1 p.m.; ¥11,000;  296-0001). Springroove 09 Extra shows are April 1 at Nagoya Club Diamond Hall (7 p.m.; ¥7,500;  265-2666); April 2, 3 at Namba Hatch, Osaka (7 p.m.; ¥7,500-¥8,500;  4397-0572); April 5 at Zepp Osaka (5 p.m.; ¥8,000-¥9,000;  4703-7760). For more info, check www.springroove.com.
Punkspring 09 runs April 3, 4 at Zepp Nagoya (4 p.m./3 p.m.; ¥6,500/ ¥7,000;  541-5758); April 3, 4 at Zepp Osaka (4 p.m./3 p.m.; ¥7,000/ ¥6,500;  4703-7760); April 5 at Makuhari Messe, Chiba(1 p.m.; ¥8,500;  296-0001). Check www.punkspring.com