REVIEW: Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass Take Boise by Storm

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Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass lead singer Yumi Uchizono. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass lead singer Yumi Uchizono.

A few songs into Piranhas BC’s set, frontman James Thomason gave the standard concert shout-outs. He thanked the crowd, The Shredder and the local band that had played earlier.

“And of course, we are all here to see our friends from Japan,” he added, referring to the show’s headliner, The Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass.

That wasn’t just talk, though. Sean Paul, Piranhas’ rhythm guitarist, hugged The Akabane Vulgars’ lead singer, Yumi Uchizono, and chatted with her briefly as she and her bandmates set up their gear. Members of Piranhas stayed close to the stage as The Vulgars played.

The Tokyo trio received similar goodwill from the rest of the audience. About 50 people came to The Shredder on Aug. 30 to watch The Akabane Vulgars’ second appearance in Boise. Only half as many people saw the first appearance, an opening set for The Vibrators last September. The crowd’s dancing and loud applause this night befitted the band’s fierce performance.

This wasn’t the only passionate response that this group has provoked. John Jimenez, a lawyer based in Seattle, discovered The Akabane Vulgars via Youtube. After the band’s set at the 2012 South By Southwest, he reached out with advice about finding a tour manager.

When The Vulgars asked Jimenez to fill that role, he agreed, purchasing a van and a drum kit. He drives the van and handles merch sales for the band’s current tour, which he estimated has included 50 shows across the U.S.

When asked why he decided to join The Vulgars on the road, Jimenez simply said, “It’s rare to find a band who’s good and who’s willing to go out there.”

The Shredder show began with a set by Exploding Head Trick. This performance felt slightly unpolished, but the local trio’s well-crafted songs and engaging stage presence got the night off to a good start nonetheless. Pleasantly rough vocals mixed with rumbling drums, melodic basslines and terse, snarling guitar solos.

Piranhas BC followed with a focused, high-energy set. The smart, catchy songs gained extra bite from the band’s locked-in groove, confident vocals and fiery guitar. A small mosh circle formed during a sharp cover of the Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia,” and the crowd responded just as enthusiastically to the original material.

But the response was even wilder for The Akabane Vulgars’ set. Yumi Uchizono’s throaty roar and thunderous riffs, Miki Uchizono’s thick basslines and Kei Sofue’s crushing drums got the audience whistling and throwing up the horns. At the end of the set, two men pounded on the stage and shouted for an encore. When the band returned to play a manic hardcore number, people started moshing.

Throughout the set, Miki Uchizono raised an index finger up in the air, making the “We’re number 1” gesture. She had a right.