Live Shots: Anamanaguchi at Slim’s

Pub date November 3, 2011

The self-proclaimed “nerds” behind me in the will-call line at Slim’s Sunday night were lamenting the theft of their culture. “I hate it when hipsters try to act like us,” one said, with threatening hostility. “Because you’re not one of us, you don’t know what it’s like, and it’s not fucking cool.” Oh crap, I thought, looking straight ahead. Are they talking about me? Do they think I’m a poser, coming to this show because it’s hip? That I wear chunky orthopedics and thick rimmed glasses for the purpose of ironic style? I got my ticket and went inside as fast as I could, away from the geek toughs.

Luckily the show itself wasn’t as militantly nerdcore as the line. Anamanaguchi borrows the speed and intensity of punk rock, but also has other notable influences. The band that’s known for making songs inspired by 8bit video game soundtracks, started out with “Space Wax America,” a new song that not only nods to Weezer’s “Surf Wax America” but has a bouncy background beat that could fit in with happy Euro techno. (Or maybe that certain rave quality was just the armfuls of glowsticks the band threw out to the audience. Or the visuals: colorful anime references including dogs, cats, and a never quite resolving cthuhlu Pokemon.) It’s like Anamanaguchi takes all the fun parts from genres and ditches the rest. And the band looks to be having a blast, particularly guitarist/member-who-handles-most-mic-breaks, Peter Berkman, who performed in a clearly homemade and adorable Adventure Time costume.

The band created the soundtrack to the video game version of the Scott Pilgrim Versus The World graphic novels, so combined with Halloween eve, I wasn’t surprised to see some evil ex-boyfriends amongst the crowd. I was, however, caught off guard by what appeared to be a combination of Ramona Flowers and the The Dark Knight’s Joker, giant red lips and short green hair with long tufts hanging down in front of each ear. Afterward, I asked her if I was identifying it right and she said, “Well, Ramona Flowers is my everyday look, and I wanted to be the Joker, so I guess you could say yes.” I checked my wallet and looked around for the guys from the line. If they still had it in for me, I could always give the girl a twenty to tell them “He’s with me.”

Opener: During a song about Jesus and fucking asses up like a car crash, opener Knife City took a brief swig of his beer and proceeded to spit it over the crowd in the front. The reaction from the rest of the crowd, looks of disgust and puzzlement, quickly revealed who was punk or not.