Otoboke Beaver

By: Simon Leff

Otoboke Beaver’s second North American tour rolled through Beanfield Theater on March 19th, showcasing a DIY spirit fitting for the Spring Equinox. This wildy dynamic female punk rock act from Kyoto is comprised of four members: vocalist Accorrinrin, guitarist Yoyoshie, bassist Hiroshan, and drummer Kahokiss. Given that the quartet has garnered a shock of praise in the global music scene since their pre-pandemic performances at South By Southwest and Coachella, and both Dave Grohl and my mom have lauded the group as a “must-see artist,” I absolutely had to buy a ticket to see them live in Montreal. 

The band’s chaotic tenor was manifest even before their set began. Kahokiss and Accorinrin popped out to flip off the audience, sing Avril Lavigne, and unapologetically kick out a mosher who was misbehaving during the opener. Just a couple of minutes later, they reappeared, having speedily replaced their sweats with Go-Go dresses, and pumping that speed into the first song of the night, “Yakitori.” The track was a pulsing chant that gave the band’s hype-man, Yoyo, time to engage with the crowd before ripping an explosive riff. From there, the show progressed with a playful cunning reminiscent of “shock gum.” Acco’s piercing gaze and Yoyo’s quirky expressions enlivened the already raucous music with a dangerously electric character, enticing you to move with it at all costs, even though you are well aware that this might hurt for days afterwards. 

Since Otoboke Beaver’s songs tend to be relatively short, rarely lasting longer than 3 minutes, the hour-and-a-half long set incorporated downtime to display the band’s shared penchant for comedy and showmanship. They experimented with French phrases, said “fuck you” to the “dirty old farts” who interrupted them, and invited the audience to buy merch because they liked money. Acco would refuse to start the next song on the setlist until the crowd was completely quiet, which often led to her singling out yappers with a pointed “Shut up!” My favorite touch, however, was their “roll call” at the beginning of the show. After each member was introduced, she would showcase her particular skills with a crazy technical solo: Yoyo wrapped the guitar around her back, and Kaho skipped from polyrhythm to Nirvana-esque backbeats. It was a bold statement, and felt like their way of saying, “Don’t even try to step to us, because we’ll fuck you up before you know it.” 

After the show ended with Yoyo crowd surfing on an inflatable Beaver, I was sweaty, tired, but still sad to be “bidding adieu” to my time with the band. As I pounded down my water in the snowy first night of spring, I realized that Otoboke Beaver’s deliriously fun mayhem is not just about the collective experience, but the band’s tutorial on how to create your own chaos, and a reminder that if this is how you find pleasure, you should hold a big ol’ middle finger up to anything  that interrupts you.