I wish I had discovered Next Music From TOKYO earlier. I’m not a super dedicated music listener but I definitely feel like I’ve totally been missing out all these years. It’s a DIY music tour that was started by Asian Canadian, Steven Tanaka and he’s been organizing these shows since 2010 after having discovered a plethora of hidden talent in Japan’s indie and underground music scene. Without knowing anything about doing a show, he started flying these bands from Japan to perform in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. It was a learning experience for him but he’s become a pro at it after so many years. He used to be pretty much a one man show and still does most of the heavy lifting in regards to financing, booking and scouting but has attracted some dedicated volunteers. He spends a lot of money (over $40,000) and does the exact opposite of making a profit. The ticket price for the Montreal show was a ridiculously low $10 in advance or $15 at the door. That’s to see five super talented bands. Seriously, Mr. Tanaka could charge much more than that for a ticket.
This year’s show was on Monday, May 23 (Victoria Day) at le Divan Orange, it’s a small, intimate venue with a bar along one side and a fussball table. I’m bad at estimating how many people can fit in a space but I’d guesstimate less than 200 for a standing audience. The bands featured were MOTFD (Mass of the Fermenting Dregs), 午前3時と退屈 (Gozen Sanji to Taikutsu / 3am and bored), Dalljub Step Club, Nengu and Regal Lily. All the bands performed with lots of energy and passion. The choice of bands was diverse with each having its own distinct sound. It was hard to choose a favorite.