Daikanyama's Unit turned out to be a strange venue in which to hear Little Barrie, the rock trio from Nottingham, England. Descending countless flights of stairs to the basement under the basement felt a little like a scene from Dante, especially after entering the final bunker itself. There must have been nearly five hundred people squeezed into a space designed to hold half that many, making it more akin to a ride on a rush-hour train than a rock 'n' roll gig.
Standing at the back gave patrons good access to the bar and a video monitor showing the action on stage, but with massive columns blocking part of the view, and no elevation for those in the rear, at times it felt a little like listening to the band from the next room.
Little Barrie's Japan trip coincides with the release of their latest CD, King of the Waves, which came out this month. They performed tracks from the album, including an enthusiastically received rendition of Money in Paper, along with older material like Pay to Join and Just Wanna Play. The musicians—guitarist Barrie Cadogan, bassist Lewis Wharton and drummer Virgil Howe, all of whom take lead vocals—were on great form, rocking hard with a clean sound through a powerful and well-mixed PA system. The crowd swayed as best they could—it was too crowded to do any actual dancing—and seemed appreciative, if a bit too polite for such rousing music.