“The Bawdies” are a Japanese rock band consisting of the four members Roy Watanabe (lead vocal, bass), Jim Kimura (guitar, backing vocals), Taku “Taxman” Funayama (guitar, backing vocals), and Marcy Yamaguchi (drums).
They released their first album in 2006 and already filled some big concert halls in Asia with their unique interpretation of modern Rock’n’Roll music. Now they’ve started their European tour with the first stop being in Düsseldorf, Germany on the 3rd July, which I had the pleasure of attending.
I arrived way too early at “The Pitcher”, an edgy and cozy “Rock’n’Roll headquarter” in the streets of Düsseldorf, as I had an interview with the band which you can read if you click here. While I stood outside waiting, I could hear some muffled guitar and drum sounds coming out of the location, which made me presume that this was going to be an amazing evening.
After I spent some time at a nearby restaurant, it was time for my interview. During our conversation the atmosphere was really relaxed and the members answered almost every question in English on their own. Even after the interview the atmosphere still stayed relaxed while I passed the time by having some nice talks with the production crew as well as with the band, teaching them some basic German words that might come in handy during their show.
As time went by, more and more people gathered outside, among them long-time fans who discovered the band on the internet years ago, as well as some Japanese fans who already saw them live and complimented their positive and charming attitude during performances. At around 7.30 pm the supporting band “The Gorilla Gunmen”, a three member band from Cologne, heated up the audience with some nice rockabilly tunes. After they finished their gig “The Bawdies” went in, accompanied from the cheering and screaming of the fans in the front rows.
They started off their concert with their powerful song “No Way”, hyping up the audience and heating up the room even more with their energetic performance. They continued to keep the mood up high with their performance of “You Gotta Dance” afterwards, in which the guitarist Jim slid into the crowd while playing the guitar lying on the floor and even behind his head, which made the fans cheer and clap even louder. What I found to be especially impressive was not only the energy drummer Marcy and the guitarists Jim and Taxman put into their show, but also the rather unconventional rough and husky voice of lead singer Roy.
Overall they performed a total of seventeen songs, including two encore stages, half of them being from their newest album “Boys!“, with songs like “What You Gonna Do”, “Nice And Slow”, “Kicks!”, “Lover Boy” and “Twistin’ Annie”. The other songs they performed included a colourful selection from different albums, which was a nice journey through their music career.
The band got really into it and knew how to animate the audience to sing, clap and jump with them. Due to their enthusiasm and the hot weather, their stage outfits were completely soaked at the end of the show and even the audience looked really tired and sweaty but more than happy. A solid fanbase in the front rows was jumping and singing the lyrics the entire time while other people in the bar who seemed to be drop-bys also seemed to really enjoy the show, judging by their surprised faces and approving nods during the guitar and vocal solos.
The absolute highlights of their concert was not only Jim and Taxman sliding into the audience but also Roy hitting an impossible high note for what felt like an eternity – leaving the crowd clapping and cheering in excitement. Remarkably during their show was also the noticeable good chemistry between the band members, who usually just needed to exchange eye contact to know what to do next.
After the show ended, people bought some merchandise on the front doors, got it signed by the band, took some photos with them, were interviewed for their DVD, and simply had a good time outdoors. After a few minutes spent outside to cool myself down from the heat of their show, it was time to go. I said good-bye to the band, who were really friendly and down-to-earth the whole day. Although they were a bit nervous at the beginning because they didn’t know how people would react to their show, they seemed genuinely relieved after their first song and enjoyed their show, which Jim confirmed when I asked him if he enjoyed it, answering “Yes!” while smiling brightly “a lot”.
© all photos by Ohanami