Shea Stadium is a shitty DIY venue in Bushwick. It’s full of shitty lights, shitty drinks, shitty people and, for the most part, shitty bands. You might wonder why I decided to make my way to this “shit” storm. In fact, it was to check out Japanese Screamo band, Trippple Nippples.
Before the main event, the New York-based girl rock band Hard Nips plays. The lead singer radiates energy. Alas, the music they play adds nothing to the performance. She bangs her drumstick on the tambourine, then the cowbell, and jumps up and down. With the rainbow feathers in her hair, she looks like something you’d catch on a mellow acid-trip, but the sounds coming out of her mouth are demonic… And not in a good way.
Hard Nips finish their set and get off the stage so that Guardian Alien can set up their digs. First sign of trouble: the band has an oboist in a tie-dyed shirt, who looks exactly like the type of guy who would play the oboe: long greasy locks, big full beard, pot belly and broken-in running sneaks. Lead singer Alex Drewchin, on the other hand, oozes sex decked out in cutoff tee and pointy-toed white boots. But due to the lack of rhythm, the lack of control and the lack of anything of substance, really, she has nothing to jive to. How can you dance when you ain’t got a steady beat? Now I’m gonna add some guitar to make it easy to move your feet.
Guardian Alien is a jam band that needs to reconvene and talk about music. Simple as that. Talk about it and find out where the similarities are, because right now they sound like a bunch of musicians playing different songs all at once. This could very possibly be their goal, but accomplishing it doesn’t mean they’re scoring. The lone savior comes in the form of drummer Greg Fox, formerly of metal band Liturgy. He bangs the hell out of the cow-skin, and his noise (thankfully) overpowers its surroundings. They end their set with Drewchin screaming into her microphone as the band members wreak havoc on the living room space, banging and strumming mindlessly.
Eardrums are shattered but bodies are light as Trippple Nippples starts setting up. They’re dressed in Neo-Africana, resembling extras from a Busta Rhymes video. The three girls in the band, all with the last name “Nippple,” are topless, save the strategically placed duct tape on their breasts.
The bassist, guitarist and drummer wear facemasks on the top of their head, etched in with porcupine needles. When they bow their heads, a stick figure face moons out to the audience. It looks sad and frightening.
A monologue plays over the speakers, which the three Japanese women shout along to, moaning about pain and suffering. When this prologue ends and the beat finally drops, the crowd goes crazy. A Brooklyn hipster hand rolls his cigarettes while moshing back and forth, cursing the person next to him when the papers break and the tobacco spills to the floor. But Trip Nip doesn’t care.
Yuka, the leader, shoots to the front of the stage, screaming in their faces. Daring them to go harder. Dance harder. Mosh harder. Be better and put your balls on the line so she can cut them off. The music is fast and hard. The words are jumbled, but have the impact of 10,000 punches. Is it English? Is it Japanese? It doesn’t matter. Then it stops and again a voice comes over the speakers. A British one. It says slowly, “TRIPPPLE FUCKING NIPPPLES!” All three girls flip off the audience, and the music starts again, with two of the girls acting out a stage fight in slow motion.
Like other popular Japanese rock bands, Trippple Nippples make countless references to American pop music. In one song they scream about Madonna and Chaka Khan. They treat a stage show as though it were performance art, but unlike other indie Jap bands, like Shinsei Kamattechan…they’re good.
It’s fun slam chesting the people around you while these three chicks lose their shit, throw paint at you, spit at you, jump into the audience and slam chest you themselves. If only they’d take those duct-tape pasties off…
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