"Live house" is a Japanese term for a music venue. They vary greatly in size and qualities.
My main problem with live houses has been finding them, so as a public service I post up photos and
directions for those I've been to, as well as links to the home sites.
The other information I provide is rather idiosyncratic. I love beer, therefore I usually note what's
available. I love beer and jumping up and down, therefore I tend to get a bit concerned about the availability of toilets.
I use this site more than
anyone so what's important to me gets posted. Live with it. Or if you can't
go here for a simple, alphabetical listing.
After a while the page got too
clumsy so I've divvied the venues up by city and/or prefecture and
I've recently decided to stop
being so damned parochial and now there are pages for live houses beyond Kinki. Beyond Kinki.
I like the sound of that.
Tomorrow the world.
Currently painstakingly following a friend's advice and eventually each page will have my local fave at the top, where appropriate,
and everything else listed alphabetically below.
A bit of general information.
- Entry and drinks tend to be a bit expensive (compared to Australia anyway) -
1,800 to 3,000 yen. You also almost always have to pay for your first drink in advance, 500 yen most places.
You can get a bit off the price most of the time by reserving in advance through the venue or one of the bands.
- Before popular shows, and particularly sold out ones, you'll have to queue outside the venue and
will be allowed in according to your ticket number. So it pays to at least learn to count in Japanese.
Confusingly, sometimes not only your number but the type of ticket you have is significant.
If in doubt wave your ticket at a staff member. Sometimes they'll even give you a heads up when it's
your turn to go in.
- Most places stamp your hand as you enter as your pass back in if they allow re-entry. The policy on re-entry
varies and sometimes a place that usually allows it won't and vice versa, so sorry if I give any bum steers.
- If you're a non-smoker be prepared to be kippered. There's no point in getting upset about it (doesn't
stop me though, I'm asthmatic), that's just the
way it is and a lot of the venues have pretty inadequate ventilation. Most of the bigger places don't allow smoking
in front of the stage, particularly in Tokyo. Varit and Star Club, in Kobe, become non-smoking if they have
a full house. Things do seem to be changing gradually so perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
Since smoking is the norm, if I make no mention of it assume that the venue is smoky as all fuck.
- Some places serve food. Some serve pretty good food. But don't count on it coz a lot of them don't.
- If you want to see someone you know is popular buy your ticket early. Most live houses are pretty
small and sell out quickly.
- Sneakers if you want to mosh. OK, this is a cry from the heart not a policy, I admit.
One of the best things about dancing down front in Japan is not
having some 100kg+ arsehole in fucking Docs surfing into your head or jumping on your feet.
Maybe I've just been lucky but Chucks are a lot more
popular than Docs around here, especially with the fans of most of the bands I like.
Not that I like getting kicked in the head by some skinny git in Chucks either. Harshes my buzz.
- Most of the bands will sell their CDs and various other merchandise at the shows and the
indie musicians are generally
pretty happy to sign stuff and chat. Sometimes even the major guys.
- Note when the show starts. It will generally seem to be ridiculously early and the show will be all
over when venues in Oz are often just starting. I guess this is mostly about people needing to catch trains.
It's handy if you're into clubbing because things are winding up just as the clubs are warming up.
So I hear. Can't stand the fucking places myself.
- Most shows feature several bands. Just be aware that if you're going to see one band in particular and
they're one of four, or even six, they're probably not going to be playing for very long.
- The Japanese tradition of okyakusama = kamisama tends not to apply terribly strongly at livehouses,
especially the bigger ones. Be prepared to be patronised and treated like retarded cattle and then
it'll be a nice surprise when you're not.
Back to Live in Kinki