It seems Japan always has plenty of guitar bands on hand to suit your fancy, but lately it feels there’s been a glut of bands that are falling beneath the mark. Either poor facsimiles of Western bands and genres or bands making up for their lack of ability by shoring up songs with rock cliches. How can you stand out above the pack under those circumstances?
TOQUIWA manage to do this with apparent ease. The 3-piece rock outfit from Tokyo manage to combine a healthy amount of attitude, gutsy musical ability and tunes with some intriguing results. Small wonder then that they’ve been chosen as support for The Wedding Present on their forthcoming UK and European shows – and indeed have a release on the Scopitones label (marking the first non-Wedding Present act to sign to the label). The band are actually veterans of the Tokyo music scene, having been Pinky Piglets in a former life, yet still sound like a fresh, eager outfit full of energy and ideas.
The Wedding Present’s David Gedge caught the trio performing in Tokyo and was captivated by their ability and reaction of the audience. “I’ve never seen audiences consistently react to a band as they do to TOQUIWA” comments Gedge, “I knew we had to work with them as soon as I saw them”. The band were invited by David to play The Wedding Present’s ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ and ‘At The Edge Of The Peaks’ festivals and performances together at SXSW.
Straight away TOQUIWA demonstrate that they’ve paid attention to constructing songs, have an ear for melody as well as those crucial mid-song lifts that engage the listener. Take ‘Tokyo Merry-Go-Round’ for instance (one of their Pinky Piglets songs). Here the song kicks off with a discordant guitar and raw vocals before erupting in a powerful chorus that’s guaranteed to get any audience jumping up and down. ‘Give Me A Chocolate!’ is a slice of pop-rock perfection while TOQUIWA’s cover of The Wedding Present’s ‘Kennedy’ manages to give the original a run for its money with its robust delivery and particular charm with the vocal delivery.
If TOQUIWA are representative of the new breed of guitar bands emerging from Tokyo then the Japanese music scene is in safe hands.
TOQUIWA’s eponymous debut UK release will be issued by Scopitones on 22nd October as a Limited Edition CD and digital download.
TOQUIWA support The Wedding Present on their UK and European dates:
24/10 : Paris, F – Point Éphémère
26/10 : Bournemouth, UK – O2 Academy
27/10 : Portsmouth, UK – Wedgewood Rooms
29/10 : Exeter, UK – Cavern
30/10 : Cardiff, UK – Gate Arts Centre
31/10 : Bristol, UK – O2 Academy
02/11 : Dublin, IRL – Button Factory
03/11 : Galway, IRL – Roisin Dubh
04/11 : Cork, IRL – Cyprus Avenue
06/11 : Carlisle, UK – Brickyard
07/11 : Edinburgh, UK – Liquid Room
08/11 : Liverpool, UK – O2 Academy
09/11 : Manchester, UK – Ritz
10/11 : Newcastle, UK – O2 Academy
12/11 : York, UK – Duchess
13/11 : Sheffield, UK – Leadmill
14/11 : Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
15/11 : Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy
16/11 : Norwich, UK – Waterfront
17/11 : Oxford, UK – O2 Academy
18/11 : Buckley, UK – Tivoli
20/11 : Leamington Spa, UK – Assembly
21/11 : Cambridge, UK – Junction
22/11 : Reading, UK – Sub 89
23/11 : London, UK – Koko