Club Antiknock: Down the winding stairs and beneath Shinjuku’s kaleidoscopic maze, a bacchanalian commotion lies in store. Weathered show flyers adorn the yellowed, smoke-stained walls – a visual history of Tokyo’s punk underground that screams the noise of split skulls, electric lightning, ‘Nam-era M16A1’s, burning embers and the pulsating din of 100-watt distortion.
The club is awash in sanguine haze, a sea of hardcore faithful roiling in the midst of dueling stages placed haphazardly on each end. The frontman leans into the mic in an aural assault – hair spiked high in blades of neon green, epaulets laden with studs, his eyes pits of darkness under layers of charcoal eyeliner.
Stage lights dim and a whirlwind ensues to the immediate left as a five-piece legion of D-Beat punk explodes into the next set. The rapid realization that we’re standing on the “stage” sinks in – machine gun bursts from a Gibson Flying V mere inches from our faces.
The singer is a showman – a jumping, shrieking, tounge-waving madman hellbent on leather to stir his black mass into an unholy tempest. The cyclone cracks into the eye of the storm – manic devotees skanking, slamming and moshing to the double-bass call.
Grenades of beer are launched in an unrelenting volley, showering the pious and stoking the flames. The final encore rings and a wizened, late-seventies hooligan - forever in search of the frenzy - is raised up by his heirs-apparent, surfing from stage-to-stage in euphoric rapture. The show goes on, deep beneath the Shinjuku Streets, in Tokyo.