Otoboke Beaver obliterates at Nashville’s Eastside Bowl

In my 10+ years of music journalism, I have attended some pretty weird and usual shows, events ranging from soda spraying clowns to bands that have set their instruments on fire. Without trying to sound pretentious, I had honestly thought I had seen everything. That was until this past Thursday evening at Nashville’s Eastside Bowl. Upon the urging from a trusted musician friend of mine, I headed out into the cold March evening to see a Japanese girl punk band called Otoboke Beaver.

Nothing could have prepared me for what would occur over the next few hours of my life. 

After enduring an interminable queue to enter the venue’s gates, I managed to catch the tail end of the performance by local openers, The Sewing Club. Their vibe exuded a relaxed, almost ethereal aura of pop punk, leading me to mistakenly anticipate a mellow evening ahead. However, my complacency was swiftly shattered three songs into the next band — South Korea’s own Drinking Boys and Girls Choir. Their musical onslaught was a whirlwind of velocity and intensity, yet paradoxically adorned with exquisite harmonies and infectious choruses. The songs seemed to contain a mix of Korean and English lyrics and I quite honestly couldn’t make out much of what they were saying.

Despite their name suggesting otherwise — they weren’t drinking, had no boys in the band, and absolutely did not resemble anything close to a choir — their performance was out of this world. Ever since that night, the chorus of their 2020 single “Linda Linda” has incessantly reverberated within the recesses of my mind, pretty much the only words I could understand that evening. 

Otoboke Beaver consisted of four seemingly mild mannered Japanese women standing in front of a sold-out Nashville crowd, each wearing brightly colored flower dresses, smiling and waving enthusiastically while taking their places onstage. For a split second, I thought to myself “this must be the happiest band I have ever seen”. That happiness turned into what can only be described as a hurricane of controlled chaos.

Their music was most certainly punk, but it was also heavy, thundering, and aggressive.

Some songs felt as if they were going 500 miles per hour and then they would abruptly stop. There was mosh pit after mosh pit breaking out throughout the venue and people were absolutely pummeling each other. Without trying to sound like I am stereotyping, my mind couldn’t match the happy, smiling, brightly colored women onstage with the absolute torrent of chaotic energy coming from the speakers; it was like seeing an angel come toward you, feeling nothing but peace and joy, and having it suddenly end with a kick to the face. They are unlike any band I have ever seen and now consider myself a fan for life. It was probably the best show I have witnessed all year and I would give anything to see them again. Next time though, I won’t be bringing my camera so I can spend some much needed time in one of their mosh pits.

Photography by Derek Jones

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