Boom Boom Satellites emerged in the 1990s, but you wouldn't know that from watching the audience Monday night at The Troubadour. This was a largely young crowd, with many people who were clearly not old enough to be hitting up dance clubs when Michiyuki Kawashima and Masayuki Nakano were beginning to release singles.
It might seem to be irrelevant to mention the perceived youthfulness of the audience, but it's not. Over the past year or so, we've attended a number shows from dance-oriented Japanese groups, like Seileen and Moon Kana. The crowd at these shows has primarily been filled with college age kids, many of whom we recognized from our coverage of anime conventions and local J-pop/J-rock dance party Tune in Tokyo. (As far as the anime connection is concerned with Boom Boom Satellites, the band was featured on the stellar soundtrack to Appleseed, alongside Basement Jaxx, Ryuichi Sakamoto and ADULT.) Throughout these events, the common thread is the energy in the club. Almost everyone is on the floor dancing and screaming for more.
To see the crowd get that excited during a show, any show, makes the night better. However, Boom Boom Satellites don't necessarily need the help. Joined by drummer Yoko Fukuda, the band ripped through a set of hard rockin' dance floor jams that, if anything, was too short. Kawashima is not the sort of frontman who creates a spectacle, but with his unusual voice (reminiscent, at times, of Placebo's Brian Molko), he's a powerful figure on stage. Combined with Nakano's peak-hour-at-the-nightclub programming and bass playing and Fukuda's keen drumming skills, it would have been difficult for anyone to stand still during the set.
Though they play as a live band, Boom Boom Satellites are more nightclub than rock show. They structure their performance as a DJ would, consistently climbing towards a huge, sweaty, apex and only occasionally allowed for the audience to catch its breath. As they play, lights flash in perfectly synchronized patterns, with washes of blue and red catching the beat and chunks of white hitting the band members at the most intense points of the set. The effect was hypnotic.
If this show was any indication, Boom Boom Satellites might end up becoming the next long-running electronic outfit to hit it big with the new crop of dance music fans. The fanaticism is already there, the next step is bringing it to the masses. They would certainly deserve that kind of attention.