BLACK FLAG / NO FUN AT ALL / FRENZAL RHOMB – SPECIAL 3MAN SHOW AKABANE RENY ALPHA, TOKYO

Generally, Japanese audience are thought to be reserved, however, I’m sure this night would be different.  The day, 3rd of November 2019, was a special day for the Tokyo’s punk rock scene. Three legendary punk bands came to Tokyo and they knocked us out completely with their crazy performances.  The punk event ‘Special 3 Man Show’ was held by the organizer Unionway Japan, which specializes in punk and hardcore music. The latest and cool venue Akabane Reny Alpha is located in the north area of Tokyo.  On this night, tickets were deservedly sold out and the house was filled with fan’s anticipation.  

Australian punk band Frenzal Rhomb kicked off the show. They were formed in Sydney in 1992 and their music is often referred to as skate punk and melodic hardcore.  Their latest album is ‘Hi-Vis High Tea’, which was released in May 2017 as their 9th studio album. 

The frontman and singer Jason Whalley is the only founding member of the band. At this night, he seemed to have a problem with his throat. So, another dreadlocked cool guy took the vocals mainly.  He spoke Japanese very well and even translated Jason’s English into Japanese with a western Japanese accent. I heard that his name is Will de Monchaux, a former bass player of Osaka based hardcore band PALM.  

Although he was a substitute frontman, Will satisfied the audience with his raw energy and playful performance.  Sometimes, Both Jason and Will dived in and sang on the crowd. It was really fun to see that two tall singers with dreadlocks were interacting with the excited crowd.  And, I could also see, lots of crowd surfers, moshing and circles breaking out around the floor.

Next up was the Swedish punk rock / melodic hardcore band, No Fun At All.  The band was formed in 1991. Getting through several line-up changes and breakups, they are still active and attractive.  

They opened their set with ‘Spirit’, the first track from their fantastic latest album ‘Grit’, which was released in 2018.  It’s a lovely fast tune with a catchy melody and absolutely the best one to start their show. Their charismatic energy captured the audience from the very first.  The agitated audience kept on crowd surfing and moshing with no break. As a photographer, I felt truly alive and happy that I was in the right place at the right time.  They kindly allowed me to shoot the show and I was the only photographer in the photo pit! How lucky I was that I was able to capture these precious moments! 

Their set was filled with their memorable hits plus a few new songs from their latest 6th studio album ‘Grit’. With their relentless performance, the audience got a better high.

After the short intermission, finally Black Flag took to the stage.  The band started their journey in 1976 in California. As you know, after Black Flag has also gone through several breakups, reunions and frictions, the legendary guitar player Greg Ginn is the sole continuous member.  They are often regarded as one of the first hardcore punk bands and also as pioneers in the movement of DIY ethic of the underground music scene. They are internationally respected and earn a cult following. 

Can you believe that? In spite of their history of over 40 years and high popularity, this was their first visit in Japan.  I felt very honored to be there to photograph them. 

I think that the audience had a mixed feeling about Mike Vallely’s vocals, since the former singer Henry Rollins left a strong impression and influence on the band.  Actually, one of my clients and her friend were uncertain whether to go to the show. I knew their feeling, but I also knew they would regret forever if they miss a valuable opportunity.  So I urged them to go to see and experience it anyway. And guess what? They really enjoyed the show and loved the new singer.

Mike Vallely is an American professional skateboarder and also known as actor and television personality and many more.  I hate to say that I had never seen him before, but I understood instantly he was a kind of professional through my lens.  He knew how he looks like and how he should act, and made poses in front of my camera. And surprisingly, his brutal vocals fitted Black Flag’s classic hits perfectly. 

They started the set with ‘Depression’ from their first album ‘Damaged’ released in 1981.  Their set list was comprised of all the fan favorites. Especially, they played many songs from the first album, which was critically acclaimed. 

The one and only guitar player Greg Ginn obviously had a charismatic aura on stage.  Ginn’s signature guitar tone sounded great and the crowd seemed truly excited to see his expressive performance. Unlike the other punk and hardcore bands, Black Flag’s sound has various elements, such as blues, jazz, free jazz, spoken words, heavy metal, sludge metal, etc.  That’s because the founder and primary songwriter Ginn has always been creative and experimental about his work.  

The audience never forgot to enjoy singing along, while moshing and crowd surfing.  Especially, ‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’, ‘Slip It In’ and ‘Rise Above’ were absolutely fun and got the audience wild! The band ended their set with Richard Berry cover ‘Louie Louie’ and didn’t play an encore. However, legendary Jinn appeared the merchandise booth very soon. He was accommodating requests from his fans with taking photos together and giving an autograph on their records. 

I was totally amazed at how chaotic and addictive their show was. If you’re not into punk / hardcore music, you might think it’s too simple. As I said, the live show is totally different from listening it in your room.  You have to see their show if you get a chance. You will never regret. I guarantee!

For updates check out their website and Facebook page.

Frenzal Rhomb (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/FrenzalRhomb/

Frenzal Rhomb are:

Jason ‘Jay’ Whalley – Vocals

Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougall – Guitar

Gordon ‘Gordy’ Forman – Drums 

Michael ‘Dal’ Dallinger – Bass

Will de Monchaux – Guest vocals (ex bass player of PALM)

Frenzal Rhomb’s set list: 

 1. Bird Attack

 2. Mummy Doesn’t Know You’re a Nazi

 3. Cunt Act

 4. Russell Crowe’s band

 5. I Went Out With a Hippy & Now I Love Everyone Except for her

 6. 5000 Cigarettes

 7. School Reunion

 8. Hate the Way You Hate

 9. Ballchef

10. White World / Fraud

11. When My Baby Smiles at Me I Go to Rehab

12. I Miss My Lung

13. You Are Not My Friend

14. Bucket Bong 

15. Never Had So Much Fun

16. Punch in the Face

No Fun At All (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/nofunatallofficial/

No Fun At All are:

Ingemar Jansson – Vocals

Mikael Danielsson – Guitar

Kjell Ramstedt – Drums

Stefan Bratt – Bass

Fredrik Eriksson – Guitar

No Fun At All’s set list: 

 1. Spirit

 2. Wow and I Say Wow

 3. Should Have Known

 4. Lose Another Friend

 5. Suicide Machine

 6. Runner’s High

 7. I Can’t Believe It’s True

 8. Growing Old, Glowing Cold

 9. In a Moment

10. Celestial Q&A

11. Beat’em Down

12. Strong and Smart

13. Where’s the Truth

14. Out of Bounds

15. Master Celebrator

Black Flag (Website): https://www.blackflagband.com

Black Flag (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/BlackFlagBand

Black Flag are: 

Greg Ginn – Guitar 

Mike Vallely – Vocals 

Joseph Noval – Bass 

Isaias Gil – Drums 

Black Flag’s set list: 

 1. Depression

 2. No Values

 3. I’ve Had It

 4. Black Coffee

 5. Fix Me

 6. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie

 7. White Minority

 8. Six Pack

 9. Bastard in Love

10. Room 13

11. Slip It In

12. I Can See You

13. Revenge

14. Clocked In

15. Jealous Again

16. Can’t Decide

17. Nervous Breakdown

18. TV Party

19. Rise Above

20. Louie Louie (Richard Berry cover)

Words and photos by Aki Fujita Taguchi: https://www.aftphotography.tokyo

Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi

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