The Foo Fighters to BiS’s Nirvana.
When BiS broke up and its members scattered in the musical breeze, precisely none of those members set out to do anything that was particularly like BiS. Saki’s doing all-over-the-place pop in POP, Megumi leads Maison Book Girl, Pour Lui’s doing her Pour Lui thing, Ten Tenko is back to DJing, and First Summer Uika and Hirano Nozomi are being delightfully weird with Billie Idle.
But a world without BiS is a pretty lame place, former manager Watanabe Junnosuke seemed to think, and somebody has to be out there to carry on that level of chaos.
Enter BiSH, or Brand-new Idol Shit.
Like a lot of people whose entree to Japanese idol subculture came via Babymetal, I was late to the BiS train, and I was pretty upset about that. So when word started to float around the core-osphere late in 2014 that “BiS’s producer is supposedly forming a new version of BiS,” I got excited.
Well. Mostly excited. I’ve been around long enough to know how well facsimiles tend to go — no matter how well-intentioned, a certain something about the original just can’t be recreated.
I don’t mean to damn BiSH with faint praise at all. No, no.
BiSH may not be BiS, but their work so far feels like the beginning of something potentially very big.
Hence the comparison to the Foos, who lack Nirvana’s energy, edge, cultural importance, etc., but definitely aren’t anything to sneeze at and who have been carving out a pretty remarkable place in the music landscape of their own.
That’s what BiSH feels like. They just celebrated the first anniversary of their founding and already have two full albums (well, 1.5, if we’re being honest) and two video singles, and have been serious with their touring (Flashback Zombies Tour Again, Idol Swindle and Eden of Sorrow … I mean, come on). According to the trailer released in conjunction with their announced Avex signing, they have their sights set on the one thing that really eluded BiS — Nippon Budokan.
It’s that legacy that’s important. Their first live performance was in the same venue as BiS’s, and was actually called “This Is for BiS.” They’ve used the same three-peat opening number for shows (which Tokyo Idol Project mercilessly cut down to one from their set at TIF) (UPDATE: YouTuber Death Pop added video from the second time — look at that crowd pop and staff start to panic), and, while they’re less a force of nature than their predecessors, they seem just as committed to DGAF mayhem.
I’ll cite that TIF performance, which is also discussed over on sister group POP’s profile: You see how the crowd just loses their shit when they realize that BiS is being called back to, and it’s like a call to action: DESTROY. They went from rowdy to uncontrollable, breaking just about every rule on behavior that is typically enforced at idol shows, and that TIF staff reaction, sending out signals to kill the performance … which of course didn’t happen. Cops wound up getting involved, and BiSH was kicked out of the festival.
Boo hoo. As noted on POP’s profile, it was great marketing.
Now, BiSH may have the general attitude down, but it’s really worth noting that they aren’t all that similar to BiS musically; while BiS even at their apogee were mixing up punk and hardcore and had a distinct rough edge, BiSH’s sound is a little more radio-friendly on one hand and more steeped in basic alt rock on the other. Again, I point in the direction of Nirvana/Foo Fighters.
Just never let it be said that they’re afraid to rock out.
But let this be noted: BiSH could have easily been a knock-off, but they’re really a continuation of the original, picking up where BiS left off and blazing ahead with some of the most sophisticated idolcore you can imagine. The ongoing collaboration between WACK (Watanabe’s agency) and SCRAMBLES (Matsukuma Kenta and company) is very fruitful and very, very good.
What they sound like
A little bit like 120 Minutes right after it had dumped all Alternative Nation pretense and was just going to show you Seattle-lite bands until you learned to like it. Guitar-driven post-Green Day punk rock.
You’ll like them if
You’re a big fan of really well-written and well-produced rock music. Or, maybe, if you like the Foo Fighters.
Entries on the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist
The above tracks, plus:
|St. Chitti II
||Aina the End
|Momoko Gumi Company
Brand-new Idol SHiT (album)
FAKE METAL JACKET (album)
*Interesting note on BiSH membership: Their original leader, Yukako Love Deluxe, left the group literally days before they released Brand New Idol Shit, so her vocals had to be replaced, but they remain on “Spark” because you can’t put milk back into the cow — the song had been digitally released before anything else. So we’re technically already on our third version of BiSH, too!