Concert Review

Kyoto Punk Quartet Otoboke Beaver Rocks Cat’s Cradle

Japanese garage punk band Otoboke Beaver melted faces and absolutely blew my mind at their March 26 performance at Cat’s Cradle.

If you’re unfamiliar with Otoboke Beaver, I cover them in this recent post. Here’s the rundown of their show:

The Openers

The first act of the night was NC-based riot grrrl band Babe Haven. Fueled by “rage ‘n’ Slim Jims,” this all-girl queer quartet threatened to blow the roof off the place with their vicious musical energy.

Cover for “Uppercut” by Babe Haven

Playing tracks from their most recent album, “Uppercut,” lead vocalist Lillie riveted the audience with her aggressively gritty screams and contagious vigor. Partway through the set, she passed the mic to guitarist Naomi for “Kung Pow,” a rallying cry against orientalism and fetishization that got everyone in the room thrashing.

For more info about Babe Haven’s “Uppercut,” check out “Babe Haven: NC Queer Punk” by Ben.

Following Babe Haven was the Drinking Boys and Girls Choir, a three-piece punk group hailing from Daegu, South Korea. The band’s name comes from its earliest members, who bonded over their shared love of drinking and singing.

Cover for “Linda Linda” by Drinking Boys and Girls Choir

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir presents an upbeat, summery take on punk, with airy beats and an absolutely sublime guitar. The band’s sound moves seamlessly along a spectrum from gritty skate punk to harmonic indie rock.

I’ve never heard anything like it. Myeong-jin Kim’s expert drumwork and Megan Nisbet’s entrancing guitar solos made my skin erupt in gooseflesh.

Otoboke Beaver

Otoboke Beaver’s performance was everything I’d hoped for. With an aces setlist, commanding stage presence and dazzling visual effects, Otoboke Beaver delivered one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had.

Drawing both from their 2022 album “Super Champon” and the iconic 2019 “Itekoma Hits,” the group had everyone in the room at their command.

Cover for “Super Champon” by Otoboke Beaver

When lead vocalist Accorinrin — clad in a 60’s-style pink dress and matching eyeliner — raised a silencing hand, everyone clammed up immediately (except for one man whose incessant “whooping” earned him a scolding “shut the f–k up, man!” from a peeved concertgoer). Later, the audience erupted with delight as she brandished us a manicured middle finger.

Conversely, guitarist Yoyoyoshie’s ebullient orange pallette and cartoonishly cheery demeanor whipped the audience into a frenzy, her high-pitched screams and seemingly elastic facial expressions paired with an aggressive rapid-fire guitar.

Otoboke Beaver at The Crocodile in Seattle – Posted by David Lee, licensed CC BY 2.0 DEED.

Her penchant for audience engagement — compelling us to clap in time with the beat for “Don’t Call Me Mojo” — blurred the hard-set line between stage and audience. This effect reached its ultimate climax when she dove into the audience at the end of the set, crowdsurfing on a giant beaver-themed pool floatie.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes shows with multiple openers can drag, especially when they differ stylistically. However, Babe Haven and Drinking Boys and Girls Choir presented such powerful energy that watching their performances felt like shows in and of themselves rather than a preface to the “main event.”

Ultimately, the night was a showcase of several different faces of female-fronted punk music, and it was absolutely riotous in all the best ways.

By J

J is a DJ at WKNC and a staunch enjoyer of dark and moody music.