EVIL LIVE HATERIZER Vol.2: Goodbye Velvet Worm
People are constantly approaching me on the street and shouting “Aaron, where can I find a trio of hot nasty tattooed Japanese broads in tight leather playing fast-n-dirty rock n’ roll with heavy overtones of sex and death?” directly at my face. I don’t understand why that question comes up so often in my everyday life, but I’m pretty sure the fact that it does means I’m doing something right. And if you’re one of these people shouting at me on the street about hot broads and sexy, violent rock n’ roll, listen to me: don’t ever change.
Anyway, the answer I always give these weirdos is “Velvet Worm”, which is the name of a punk(?) rock trio that became one of my favorite acts in Tokyo when I first saw them almost a year ago, back in the halcyon days of 2015, at Anomalous Collision 7 . Any band playing alongside FiD, El Nudo, and Self Deconstruction will have to work very hard to get noticed, but holy shit did I notice them. When I heard they were part of the lineup for EVIL LIVE HATERS Vol.2 at Nakano Moonstep I knew I had to be there. Not just because I love the band, but because according to their Facebook page, this would be their very last show.
Upon hearing the news I rent my mantle in twain, screamed to the gods in vain, and aged 10 years in five minutes. I cursed myself for missing their other shows this year and hunted through my tiny apartment for an extension cord with which to whip myself, praying that self-flagellation would erase my sin, that the pain and blood would get rid of this damned sort-sighted attitude of “oh well, I’ll just catch them some other time”. I’ve missed too many bands this way, dammit, and I hope you learn from my example.
The show was already underway when I arrived, which means I missed both Disgunder and Apologist’s sets, but since I’ve seen them both before I wasn’t too upset. For the record, both bands are worth seeing if you’ve got the chance. Next up was Jeers, followed by Marubullmen, each providing raucously violent punk sets, and even though I was there for one band and one band only I realized something about the Marubullmen. So listen: Each member of the group plays either a Flying V or a model similar to the Flying V, looking to my eye to be either Ibanez or Fernandez or whatever. My point is, anyone who has played a V-shaped guitar, regardless of the brand, knows they are very badly suited to playing while in a sitting position. And if you’ve ever heard Marubullmen’s personal brand of fuck-you music, you’ll know it is not meant to be listened to while sitting down. I firmly believe that no one in Marubullmen (with the possible exception of the drummer) has ever played or even listened to music while sitting down. I’m not sure why I think it’s important to mention that, except that it likely has a beneficial effect on their music.
Velvet Worm stole the night for me, just like I knew they would. Honey Lamia Cool (bass, vocals) and Junk (guitar, vocals) are in complete control from the moment they strut onstage and shrug off their fur jackets. They will hunt through the sea of faces until they find yours, and then they will eye-fuck the shit out of it. Their set is all fast, nasty rock n’ roll with catchy riffs that grab you by the crotch and throw you into the air, which is exactly what I would expect from any song titled “Black Piss, Red Sludge”. After the show I tried to buy both of their albums but their first, 死ぬにはいい日じゃない？, had already sold out. I took home their second, ゴキブリ野郎と赤いヘドロ, for the relative bargain of 1,500 yen.
Not long ago I had a discussion with Thom Smith, the drummer of Retch and a veritable fount of knowledge when it comes to extreme music, about the definition of garage rock and it's points of difference in comparison to punk. A small fight ensued in which hair was pulled and feelings were hurt, but by the end of it I decided that the lines between garage rock and punk were probably not that important. If someone were to put a gun to my head and demand that I describe Velvet Worm’s sound -- like Kaala editor Jim Broadly did, not moments ago-- using genre-terms, I’d tell them exactly what I told Jim: "fuck off, you old drunk". Velvet Worm played rock n’ roll. It was fast, it was dirty, and it was catchy as hell. If you like The Cramps you’ll probably like Velvet Worm, and if you don’t like The Cramps then you deserve to punched in the dick every day for the rest of your life.
So goodbye, Velvet Worm, and goodbye to your sex-and-death infused rock n’ roll, and goodbye to your brutally piercing eye contact. You will be missed.