Japanese chart-topping band Man With A Mission recently visited London for a sold-out headline gig at The Dome. Straight from Shibuya, Tokyo, the five-piece compromising of Tokyo Tanaka (vocals), Jean-Ken Johnny (guitar and vocals), Kamikaze Boy (bass), DJ Santa Monica (DJ), and Spear Rib (drums) brought a mix of rock ’n’ roll, ska, and electro to London.
All dressed up as wolves, and even wearing masks, Man With A Mission are a joy to watch and hear. Braving the heatwave generated by hundreds of jumping and sweating fans, the band perform in style, in full costume throughout. There are no false notes, no place for a mistake in their theatrically directed show. They deliver an exceptional performance from the first to the last song, as anyone should expect from a gold-certified band. Their latest album The World’s On Fire has already gone gold, with the song Seven Deadly Sins sitting at #2 on the Billboard Japan Top 100 for nine consecutive weeks.
The energy from the stage is contagious and this is one of those rare shows where people are still more into music than snapping mobile-phone pictures or live videos. Motörhead fans jumping in union with Zebrahead lovers, singing Take What You Want, isn’t something that can be witnessed at every gig.
The World’s On Fire, Seven Deadly Sins, and Freak It! Or Give It Away create an explosion on the dance floor. But it’s a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit that turns my head around. I’m a die-hard Nirvana fan, and I can barely stand any covers of their famous anthem. Yet, this was a whole new story. Instead of copying the original, the Tokyo natives do it their own way. Heavy riffs tweaked with rap sections, and creatively mixed, leaves me in awe. I have a strong feeling that Kurt would approve.
Man With A Mission are a group you need to see, not just listen to. They are a phenomenon proving that music has no boundaries and that trying to find a label to stick on a band is pointless. You might say they play pop, punk, ska, rock, electro, or indie and you’ll still be only half right. As the new year rolls around, I hope we won’t be waiting too long for them to fill up UK’s venues again.
Man With A Mission, London, The Dome, 23rd February 2018
Words by Edyta K
Photography by Daisuke Skai