A band that's been making music for nearly two decades shouldn't be considered an overnight success, but in some strange way, the 18.104.22.168's have become just that. Ask the stuffed-shirt lawyer in your office, the checker at your supermarket, even your cool friend with the huge record collection who the 22.214.171.124's are, and they'll stare blankly at you. But tell them they're the band performing before the swordplay showdown in the House of Blue Leaves in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume One, and an "Oh, yeah," is bound to follow.
Thing is this all-girl Japanese trio deserve more credit. Comprised of Yoshiko "Ronnie" Fujiyama (guitar), her sister Sachiko Fujiyama (drums) and Yoshiko Yamaguchi (bass), the 126.96.36.199's have released a discography of music so expansive that if you bought their entire catalog, it'd burn a pretty big hole in your Visa. Celebrating their love of American music and pop culture from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s (188.8.131.52's . . . get it?), the band play trashy, reverb-laced garage rock while belting out goofy Japanese/English lyrics and shimmying around in matching glittery gold dresses. The songs they cover are campy, and their originals—with titles such as "Edie Is a Sweet Candy," "Bomb the Twist" and "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield"—are loose, fun, party-time nuggets.
That said, it's really no surprise Tarantino would stumble across them. In Japan scouting Kill Bill locations, Tarantino first heard the 184.108.40.206's while browsing in a secondhand store. Rockin' Jellybean, a friend of the band, says, "Tarantino asked the shop guy, 'Who plays this song? This is my next movie image!'" You can bet Tarantino, the king of creating cool and obscure mix-tape-like soundtracks, wasted no time getting on the phone. Luckily for the director, the trio were already fans and didn't need any coaxing. Well, maybe a little.
"During the movie shoot," continues Jellybean, "Tarantino suddenly requested they play with bare feet. He said it looked exotic, but they hate that because they are very short."
We're certain the band's not really complaining. Their Kill Bill pre-slaughter song "Woo Hoo" snuck the 220.127.116.11's into the U.K. top 30 and has been described as "the 'Macarena' for White Stripes fans"—it's even available as a ring tone for your cellular. But the band's high-quality shake-rattle-roll deserves more than a mere phone alert—or a quickie flash of Hollywood glitter.
18.104.22.168's perform with Jonny Was featuring Shane West, Cavil at Rest, Lipstick Pickups, the Outline and Brazilian girls at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.galaxytheatre.com. Fri., 8 p.m. $10. All ages.
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