The Scooters, Juicy Fruits, Kotaro & The Bizarremen at Shibuya WWW

Text and photos Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound

ザ・スクーターズ

On December 5 was a show featuring The Scooters, and it was held at my favorite venue, WWW in Shibuya. Since their official come-back last year, after some 30 years, The Scooters have been staying active. This event also featured Juicy Fruits and Kōtarō & The Bizarremen.

First on stage was Juicy Fruits, another band from the early 80's that has reappeared a few years ago. The renewed Juicy Fruits features two original members, singer/guitarist Iria and drummer Takagi Toshio, and two new recruits, a guitarist and a bassist from the neo-GS scene. They gave an impressive show, mainly of their early hits but also playing a new single released earlier this year. Singer Iria skillfully plays most lead guitar and solos herself. All members also sing chorus, making the chorus of "Jenny wa gokigen naname" (the band warned younger listeners that it's not a Perfume song) sound just like it should! I didn't know much of their other songs, but the show gave me new favorites.

ジューシー・フルーツ ジューシー・フルーツ

I was then surprised to see The Scooters start setting up already! I'd have expected them to be on last, but the event seemed organized by the other band who kept the final spot. They had 11 members on stage: the 5 ladies (Ronnie Barry, Lucy, Beat Himiko, Beauty & Jackie), MC Turbang "Chad" Jr., leader Shindō Mitsuo, original guitarist Ichikawa Eiji, plus Sally Kubota on bass, Emerson Kitamura on organ, and Yamada Yoshinori on drums. What a wonderful bunch!

ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ

Their set had a few songs from latest album "Une manche et la belle" (2012), old favorites, and Motown and Beatles medley. The big surprise this time was a new cover of AKB48's "koi no Fortune Cookie" arranged in their very style. Several songs from this show can be heard on this YouTube channel.

The Scooters' set list: Motown medley / atashi no Heat Wave / kanashii uwasa / L-O-V-E / namida no Breakaway / Beatles medley / koi no Fortune Cookie / Shout / Tokyo Disco Night

ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ

Up last was Kōtarō & The Bizarremen, a side-project of two members of The Collectors, together with afro drummer Okamoto Takuya (from Scoobie Do) and guitarist Kita Shinichi (of The JFK). The band uses only vintage guitars and basses made by now-defunct Japanese guitar maker Teisco, known for making guitars that were classified as "bizarre guitars". I guess that's where the band takes its name!

The band has a tight sound with really good instrumentals, especially showing off their guitar skills. Most songs do have vocals, mostly with silly lyrics that push the band's image towards the "joke" genre.

コータロー・アンド・ザ・ビザールメン コータロー・アンド・ザ・ビザールメン

Bonus: The Scooters and I

Being a big Pizzicato Five fan I had known of art director Shindō Mitsuo for some time, and if I'd have known he used to be in a band I'd have checked it out right away.

But my first encounter with the Scooters was quite random. Around when album "Complete Collection" (2003) was released, I happened to hear it playing in a record store (Disk Union in Shinjuku) and caught a glimpse of the jacket. The sound stayed in my head, and a few days I started seriously looking for that CD again although all I remembered was the pink jacket. I was lucky to find it again by chance (I think at Disk Union in Ikebukuro). I had been listening to it often since then, so imagine my surprise and happiness when they got back together in 2012 even releasing a new album!

I'm really looking forward to what The Scooters will bring us next year. Hopefully more such fantastic shows, and I keep my fingers crossed for more new music too!

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr


Live information:
2014/1/12 Juicy Fruits one man live @ Music Bar MELODIA Tokyo


Juicy Fruits "Jenny wa gokigen naname"

The Scooters "Tokyo Disco Night"
Live at Shibuya WWW (watch more here)

Kotaro & The Bizarremen "kawaii na Filipina", "hikkoshi"
Live at Shibuya WWW (watch more here)

Tags: Juicy Fruits, Kotaro & The Bizarremen, Scooters (click for more info)

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