The Pillows – Live at Slim’s SF, 9/7/11

After cruel circumstances and bad luck have denied me the chance for years (I was actually in Japan the last time they toured the States) I finally got to see The Pillows tonight at Slim’s in San Francisco. Pirozu is a truly amazing band – I can think of few that combine their knack for fabulous melodies with their intensity and instrumental prowess. Think of a cross between Squeeze, Nirvana and the Ramones and you’re pretty close. Anime fans know them from FLCL of course, and for their theme from Sket Dance, but in Japan they’ve been one of the most popular bands in rock for most of their 22 years of existence.

Tonight I saw them at Slim’s, a modestly sized warehouse in the SOMA district of SF. Opening was Noodles, an adorable girl band from Japan who share a label with Pirozu, and a sound as well to some extent. It was a crowd full of hard-core fans, mostly young, many of whom had traveled a great distance for a chance to see the band in the Western Hemisphere. I shared a table with a very nice fellow who flew in from Chile for the concert, which may have been the record for this crowd. Manabe was mixing with the crowd at the merchandise table between bands, and he took a picture of my Chilean friend’s tattoo…

Just a great night. I wish the show had been longer, but the band lived up to my every expectation (except for not playing “Runner’s High”, which I really didn’t expect anyway). I’ve seen a lot of The Pillows from their various stadium shows in Japan on video, but in person they’re truly astonishing. Amazing energy, especially from Sawao. Videos follow – I apologize that they aren’t better quality, but the whole balcony was shaking during the entire show.

Taking the Stage

I Think I Can

More tomorrow.



  1. L

    I first found out about them from Sket Dance using Funny Bunny . I didn't even hear about this tour, where did you find out?

  2. Gods, Man, you haven't seen FLCL? Rectify that!

    They're on Twitter, Facebook… Sort of a ritual for US Pillows fans to check every few weeks to see if they're touring this year.

  3. l

    I'm going to burned for asking this question but.. who are they? Please relate them to anime.


    In anime terms, FLCL (shame on you if you haven't seen it!) used their music. They did a guest shot in Beck (under a fake name). Did the ED for Sket Dance.

  5. E

    I am so jealous. The Pillows music makes me so nostalgic. I spent a good chunk of my summer analyzing FLCL, due to its great use of subplot and a reverse bildungsroman (rather than learning to become an adult, the protagonist stops pretending to be more mature than he is).

  6. d

    FLCL know. Sket dance dropped. Pillows dunno.

  7. l


    Same. But also dunno they sing that song. 😛

  8. I'm no fan of Sket Dance, really only interested in the Pillows ED and the cover of "Funny Bunny" that was in one of the episodes.

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