The Tokyo Connection; Primus' Attempt To Escape U. S. Drunks Fails

Bringing weirdness to Japan. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Addicted To Noise Tokyo correspondent Brian Kushnir

reports: One may think that the Liquid Room, which is located in the Kabuki-cho

district of Tokyo on the 7th floor of an entertainment complex (which also

includes a two level bowling alley, an all-you-can-eat restaurant, a video game

arcade, sauna, and massage parlor), would be an unlikely place to find some of

the music world's most talked about musicians. Nevertheless, this club, which

can pack in about 1000 people on a good night, is one of the few small clubs in

town to regularly showcase visiting foreign acts: over the course of the next

few months, Anthrax, Silverchair, Ben Harper, Shampoo, Rancid, and Lisa Loeb,

are all scheduled to play there. And last night (Feb. 18), perhaps inspired by

the fresh blanket of snow on the ground, Primus took over the Liquid Room and

had themselves a little hoe-down.

Primus, playing their 2nd night in Tokyo

before heading down south for one show in Nagoya (Feb. 21) and two in Osaka

(Feb. 22-3), seemed to enjoy the idea of playing in Japan, among fans who were

somewhat less boisterous than usual. "Last night," lamented bassist / vocalist

Les Claypool in the middle of their one and one half hour set, "there were

about 15-20 drunken Americans here. I thought if I went to Japan I'd get away

from drunken Americans."

The mostly Japanese audience, however, had no

idea what he was saying, and cheered him on with shouts of "oyaji!," which is

like saying "go grandpa go!" in English.

The set featured songs from all of

their albums without emphasizing any one album in particular. They began with

older songs such as "Harold of the Rocks" and "Groundhog Day" and moved into

some of the heavier material and extended jams from their latest CD, Tales

From the Punchbowl" including "Professor Nuttbutter's House of Treats,"

"Del Davis Tree Farm" and "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver." The three members of the

band were locked in and musically right on target throughout the show. However,

guitarist Larry "Ler" Lalonde spent most of the time looking at the ground, and

drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander was nearly invisible behind his drum kit, forcing

the audience to keep their eyes on singer / bassist Claypool. Demonstrating

that he can simultaneously play the role of showman and virtuoso

bassist, Claypool slipped in seemingly random musical references throughout the

evening, including The Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster," Chicago's "25 or 6

to 4," and the theme song from "Barney Miller." The audience reacted to the

faux-hillbilly dance antics of Claypool with a mixture of respect and

giggles--realizing that while this guy can play the bass, he goes out of his

way to show that he does not take things too