By Jase Walker

Poster for Otoboke Beaver @ Amsterdam Paradiso 4 July 2024Every now and then you catch wind of another Japanese band that are just that little bit on the crazy side and somehow miss them only to find they’re playing up the road from you the next year and this time it’s Otoboke Beaver. This four-piece of outrageously energetic Japanese women do some of the most insane punk I’ve ever heard and tonight I get to catch them at one of my favourite venues in the Netherlands, Paradiso in Amsterdam. Along with Drinking Boys And Girls Choir (yes that’s the full name) as support from South Korea, tonight is going to be a fun night with some shouty antics no doubt!

A bit of a small turnout at first for Drinking Boys… but everyone seems pretty excited for the show and that counts for a lot! Nothing like whoops and cheers for random bass noises eh? Starting off with a song that I’m pretty sure is saying “pleased to meet you!”, I don’t think they could have opened with a better song! A distinctly East Asian take on the punk music of old such as Sex Pistols and The Clash all the way up to White Stripes’ more frantic material. I do wish the bass was just that bit stronger, not louder though, just a bit more grunt would be lovely. As you’d expect with punk, most of these songs last barely more than two minutes each: two minutes of a lot of fun though! Spying their bass player and singers Yamaha P-bass covered in stickers and most prominently “Queer!” standing out, this band are unashamedly punk in every possible way.

A quick look behind me and suddenly the venue is absolutely rammed, maybe I was too distracted by the ridiculously entertaining band on stage kicking out massive riffs? Oh well. It’s not just energetic songs that they’re playing, their bass player is jumping all around the stage whenever they’re not singing, absolutely living their best life by the looks. And finally finishing with a song that is hoping for, and I quote, “a world without discrimination”, which is oddly a very upbeat sounding song, you can’t get more punk than that, eh? Well other than the bass player/singer launching themselves into the crowd for a casual bit of crowd surfing. Ordinarily I’d think 30 minutes was too short for a set, but in a punk band’s case, I’d say it’s perfect.

Wasting zero time getting things going and noticeably not running with specific instrument techs, Otoboke Beaver are getting all of their line checks done prior to the show getting started. The break music abruptly stops, the room darkens and they shout an introduction out with some quick rules about the show before screaming at the crowd under the darkness. It’s time! It’s taken literally less than 30 seconds for the pit in the middle of the room to kick off and people are already going mental, I think that’s one of the fastest moves to 100 per cent I’ve seen in a while! I figured this show would be a bit nuts but I don’t think I counted on the band flinging themselves around the stage every bit as much as the crowd flinging themselves at each other! The pit is growing bigger by the second and getting steadily closer to me and I don’t think some of the older people in the audience quite counted on this.

Getting a crowd to clap along by turning around and spanking their arse is a new one for me too and I’ve seen some pretty raunchy shows before! Eat your heart out Joan Jett, this four-piece are taking the path you walked out for them and absolutely sprinting down it. Im genuinely baffled how these can operate at such an incredible height of energy like this for their entire set, this isn’t your average run of heavy music, this is going absolutely fucking berserk with reckless abandon. This isn’t just your average punk either; this is filled with all sorts of bizarre fills, stop/start, funky slap bass breaks or just moments where all four of them stop at once and just scream down the microphone. The fact that they frequently jump across a gulf of quieter parts to insanely intense cacophonous noise within a split second is constantly jarring in the best way, my god is it fun.

Nothing like a bit of honesty with “I like money, you will buy our t-shirts, next song is about money”. Also a song mocking YouTube comments about struggling to speak English on their YouTube videos with ‘I Don’t Know What You Mean – Pardon’, the perfect “fuck you” to that sort of thing. The more I watch of this the more I would love to see them do a tour with The Chats, a perfect combo of pretty insane punk. The whole way through this show I can’t help but get drawn towards what their bass player and drummer are doing, it’s almost non-stop grooving the entire time and they’re playing some pretty complex stuff, it’s not just hammering away with some root notes. This has been probably the most high energy show I’ve seen this year so far. I’ve seen some intense stuff, some fun stuff, some awe inspiring stuff, but not quite this level of going crackers at 250 per cent for an hour straight. They’ve turned Paradiso upside down with this set, Christ (on a bike, ha!).

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