An Atomic FUCKING Whirl. Jesus Christ… There isn’t a writer alive who can properly describe this band. Hell, their own recordings can’t even convey the pure sense of RAW FUCKING POWER that this band brings to venues and diy spaces all over Asia and North America. That’s not to discredit their recordings, they are both stellar noise/grind/math/whateverthefuck albums, but nothing compares to their live shows. Pictures come close, videos come closer, but you’ve just gotta be there to witness what some might call a lesson in pure self-expression.
In an attempt to convey what exactly I mean, let me tell you a story. Me and the mates in SFC live in a podunk little town far removed from anything even closely resembling the words “exotic” or “cultured”, so when we heard that this Japanese noise band was coming to Lost Cross, we decided to forgo band practice that night and make the hour drive south to witness something I’ve retrospectively deemed a religious experience. We were all pretty fried from a recent acid trip, so we got loaded on Busch and Ham’s to numb our aching minds as we waited for AAW to start. When we made out way down stairs, we were met with a sight that most trained professionals would label insane. A bass guitar was plugged into heaps of pedals running into multiple amps, while Kenjii wrapped a literal towel around his head and stuck duct tape around his nose and eyes. The giant known as Brian was seated behind a drum kit full of cymbals and weird percussion…things? It was absolutely surreal. It had been raining pretty heavily, so water had leaked into the basement, leaving the floor muddy and slick. Everyone stood in silence, not knowing what to expect.
And then AAW started playing. Two chords and a bell hit into their set and I was flat on my back, smiling from ear to ear. The room simply exploded in a mass of flailing bodies as drops of cheap beer washed over us. Everyone was moving, smiling, falling down, and incoherently screaming along with Kenjii as he gyrated, screeched, and laid waste to anyone who came within striking distance of his now weaponized bass.
After their set, we collectively stumbled out of the basement to get some fresh air and dry off, only to hear that AAW were playing in St Louis the next day. Needless to say, we unanimously agreed to tell our jobs to fuck off so that we could experience this again. The next night we found ourselves standing in the basement of Zambo’s, witnessing the awesome force that is AAW. It was arguably an even better set, with Kenji seemingly more energetic than the night before and using an AM radio as an impromptu sample machine. He even passed his bass guitar to some audience members as he proceeded to climb into Brian’s bass drum… while Brian continued to play.
Afterwards, we ended up on Zambo’s back deck talking to them about everything under the sun while we tossed back a few brews and listened to Brian and Kenjii tell us their stories.. Brian and Kenjii are two of most polite and interesting human beings I have ever had the good fortune of meeting, so I was beyond overjoyed that Brian allowed me to email him some questions about An Atomic Whirl.