Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blue Drag, Takadanobaba

Takadanobaba, as we previously learned, is a funky sort of student-low end town, with tons of ramen and other down-market specialties. On the other hand, it also features several live music venues, and I went to one of them on Saturday. It's well worth checking out if you're at all into the style of music they usually feature (gypsy jazz)

But first, random street shots. This bar is called 'The Harley', and features a big bike outside, no seating charge, and lots of motorcycle-themed paraphernalia and metalwork appointments inside. I didn't drink, so I can't tell you about their selection.

If you blow this up, you'll get a little view of what Japanese college students like to do on Saturday nights - wait in line for famous ramen. There must have been 50 people in line here. The guys in the Indian restaurant next door were looking out the window with consternation - their whole shop was blocked by the line of ramen-waiters.

Blue Drag is about 10 minutes from the station and cleverly hidden in the basement of a small, modern office building a bit down an alley (Exit 6, turn left towards Waseda, cross Meiji Dori, left at the Tankaipin ramen.

Inside is distinctly homey, with the owner working the bar and serving (good looking) food, lots of themed stuff on the walls (prints of paintings by Django, among them), and a bunch of guitars, violins and other instruments that I'm told are used in the regular jam sessions that take place after the evening's music is over. On this night they were out of character by having bluegrass bands, including the 5 pictured early-20's kids (band name: Banana Punch!) very earnestly playing modern, sensitive bluegrass and laying down sweet, precise 3-part harmonies. I tend to like my bluegrass older and crustier, but they sure had a nice vocal blend.

Check the schedule here.

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