CMJ Japanese Music Showcase Review

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On a brisk, cold, autumn night (October 20) in New York City, two awesome bands from Japan came to rock the night away at the Bowery Poetry Club as part of the CMJ Festival. ZAMZA and Boom Boom Satellites enchanted NYC music fans with explosive rock that left no stone unturned and left their marks in a festival where thousands of notable musical artists got noticed through CMJ over the years.

First up was ZAMZA. I didn’t get a chance to see them last year when they performed at Webster Hall. The CMJ show was my first time seeing them live and they did not disappoint. The music sounds very old school, but at the same, it sounded very alternative. Listening to them reminded me of Velvet Revolver (one of my favorite bands ever). For those who don’t know, ZAMZA is a supergroup, comprised of four band members, two (Banshee & Kohta) formerly from JUDY & MARY and two (Zinc & Hiroki) from ECHOES. The vocalist, Zinc, was very, very charismatic. I loved how he made eye contact with people in the audience & the gestures he did while he was singing. Banshee (bassist) was lively himself and was awesome on bass. What I like is that their songs are ALL very catchy.  The song, “Manga”, was a highlight to me probably because I am a huge manga fan & Zinc yelling “MANGA!” sounded like a declarative love for the medium (Zinc even asked fans if they liked manga before they did the song). I can see why ZAMZA has received a lot of critical acclaim all over the world.

Continuing their U.S. Tour, Boom Boom Satellites came out next, with smoke and crazy lighting. The band performed earlier in NYC at the Far East to East Showcase 2010 in Irving Plaza, which I chronicled here. Seeing them a 2nd time was quite a treat. The set list they did for this show, in my opinion, was better than the set list they did at Irving Plaza. The combination of them performing and the lighting created quite a visual experience. It was really something to behold and you had to see it to believe it.  One noteworthy song they did was a concert/live-only song, “Dig The New Breed”. The fans got an opportunity to hear a song that probably would never be recorded in a studio. I thought it spoke volumes of the group to perform that particular song in front of an American audience.

Overall, it was a fun show despite being a late show. The show went from 10:15pm to around 12:30am. I hope to see more of ZAMZA and Boom Boom Satellites in the future. They are both great bands to see live if you are a fan of rock music. Kudos to Mar Creation Records, Sony Music Japan, CMJ, and Bowery Poetry Club for making this event happen!

– Tony

For those who are curious, here’s the set lists for both bands during the show. Albums are in brackets.

1. Why (Manga/Manga Rock)
2. Death in Life (Manga/Manga Rock)
3. Wake Up In A Dream (Manga/Manga Rock)
4. Satori (Manga/Manga Rock)
5. I’ll Give You All (Manga/Manga Rock)
6. Manga (Manga/Manga Rock)
7. Mechanidon (Tsukizoku)
8. Arechi (Manga)

1. Back On My Feet (To The Loveless)
2. Moment I Count (Full of Elevating Pleasures, 19972007, Over and Over)
3. What Goes Round Comes Around (Exposed, 19972007, Over and Over)
4. Dig The New Breed (Concert/live-only)
5. Easy Action (Exposed, 19972007, Over and Over)
6. Kick It Out (On, 19972007, Over and Over)
7. Dress Like An Angel (Photon, 19972007)


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