idMay 19, 2007
At the end of August 2002, water started pouring from the ceiling of my apartment in Nakano, Tokyo. My roommate was gone, having just set off on his month-long butterfly-catching trip in Burma. I called his parents, who own the building, and they advised me to wait it out until a repair guy could come by in the morning.
I had a ticket to see clammbon the next day. In retrospect, I have no idea how I managed to secure it; even now I’m not confident that I could properly purchase a concert ticket by myself in Japan. But somehow I did the online research, found the nearest venue, went into the convenience store, located the ticket machine, pushed the right buttons, talked to the staff person on the little phone, and successfully bought my ticket. I was going to be in the same room as clammbon!
The next day, I got calls from the repair guy every few hours, telling me that he’d be later and later. Eventually it got to the moment that I knew I should be making the walk to Shinjuku to get to the show on time. I called my rommate’s mom for guidance. She told me to forget about the repair guy and get to the show.
I made it to the venue, on the 7th floor of a big old building, halfway through clammbon’s one-hour set. It took me several minutes to realize that I was dumbly wandering around the place missing the show, because there were so many people milling around outside the main performance area, and the doors blocked out the noise so well, that I didn’t even know the band was playing. I rushed in there, took my place at the back of the crowd, and sang along as best I could.
I bought a clammbon shirt to show my loyalty: teal, with Dramatickers written on it in gold, fancy cursive writing, it was my most prized article of clothing for years. Somehow, it has disappeared somewhere between Tokyo, Green Bay, Chicago, and Seattle. I also filled out the survey card at the show in my awful Japanese handwriting, trying desperately to get across how much I adore the band. Maybe they read it.
Between songs, Mito announced that they would release a new album soon. That album turned out to be id. This one, recorded in the USA, produced by a USAmerican guy, has such an unusual personality. It starts with two quiet, thoughtful songs, then bursts into one of the most rocking and memorable clammbon songs ever (“Adolescence”), then keeps alternating back and forth between loud rockingness and quiet reflection for the rest of the album. Come to think of it, this album kind of is clammbon’s adolescence. The songs move further away from topics of cuteness and childhood, and start being weird, artsy experiments.
The strongest memories of this album are of listening to it as I rode my tiny bike around Nakano.