The Blue Hearts are one of the most original-sounding bands to play Los Angeles this year. Unfortunately, almost all of that uniqueness derives from the language they sing in: Japanese. Musically, the Tokyo phenoms, who are making their first U.S. tour, cop their chops from the cream of late-'70s new wave and punk--the Jam, the Clash, the Ramones.
But though the Blue Hearts' influences may be somewhat superannuated, their approach to them is anything but. At the Anticlub on Wednesday, the Hearts attacked the same three chords relentlessly, as if they were discovering them for the first time, generating a fervor in the overwhelmingly Asian crowd. And lead singer Hiroto Kohmoto's rock star posturing--when he wasn't pursing his lips per Mick Jagger he was wagging his tongue with a single-mindedness that would make Gene Simmons proud--was so hopelessly silly as to be endearing.
The meaning of the words he was singing in between mouth gestures was lost on the non-Japanese speakers in the audience, but the lyric sheet in the group's debut U.S. EP, "The Blue Hearts," displays a healthy punk attitude, tempered with a touch of Tokyo-style humor. "Anybody who laughs at you / Just say fall in tofu and drop dead."