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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tokyo garage rockers sweat through disaster

Zoo Bombs
Zoo Bombs

Don Matsuo and his fellow members of the Zoobombs were preparing for a concert in Peterborough, Ontario when an 8.9-magnitude earthquake rattled Japan two weeks ago. The Tokyo-bred Zoobombs have been playing prolific garage rock around the world for 17 years, making a big noise at Canada’s North by Northeast festival and beyond, but no amount of familiarity with the road can prepare for a natural disaster at home — so distant in miles, yet so near in spirit. Emotions came in clusters.

“”Sadness, surprise, worry, and a feeling of powerlessness,”” Matsuo described in an email. “”But, I’m surprised. Every American person has shown us deep sympathy and friendship. So we decided to keep going and find something we can do in America as Japanese. Our families are safe. So we can keep going.””

And so the Zoobombs go, like Energizer bunnies pumped with amphetamines, rampaging through North America on a relentless rock tour. If you’re lucky, you can catch them tonight at Vaudeville Cabaret before they recharge their batteries and plow on through California.

This current tour is partially a promotion for the Zoobombs’ upcoming 14th album, La Vie En Jupon, due out next week. But this tour is mostly just a tour — a familiar, semi-annual experience that has become just as vital to the band as sleep.

“”Playing music is losing energy and charging energy at the same time,”” Matsuo said. “”I never get tired.””

Few Zoobombs audience members can make the same claim. Famed for their live performances, the Zoobombs are a kinetic combination of Jimi Hendrix and The Cramps, Sly Stone and the Rolling Stones — equal measures funk and punk. Audience participation is necessary. Only certain venues will do.

“”The sound must be natural,”” Matsuo said. “”Enough space to move around, doesn’t need ‘super’ sound system. And people must … sweat!””

Sweat tonight with the Zoobombs. Wall-shaking rock music might be the adrenaline shot you need to survive the semester’s end.

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