Kiiiiii Thrills the Rickshaw Stop

San Francisco, 3/21/07


As part of the SF Asian American Film Festival’s fundraising events, the Rickshaw Stop hosted local bands Dreamdate, Scrabbel and the amazing Japanese band, Kiiiii.

First, let me start by talking a bit about Dreamdate: they included a blonde woman, an Asian-American woman and an Asian-American male drummer, which is how I suppose they got on the bill to begin with. For they were mediocre, to say the least. Underpolished, to say the least. Then again, the small crowd that had arrived before 9 seemed to enjoy them, dancing to such catchy (yet unfinished to me) songs as “Back on My Feet.” Even my friend Grace, who got me into the show on a comp ticket, seemed enthralled. I didn’t get it. Worst of all, the Film Fest people committed the absolute horror of all horrors, letting the opening band play for about one hour!!! BORING!!! They were clearly running out of material and really pushing it, and even their fans seemed to lose interest pretty rapidly.

Next up were SF darlings, Scrabbel. This was my first time seeing them, and they have quite a large fan base, with decent reason. Rather energetic, the band sports two guitarists, two bassists, and a drummer. It first emerged in 1999 with Dan Lee and Becky Barron, and they got their first big break playing the first annual SF Asian American Film Fest. I guess it’s been good to them. Their indie rock stylings were well polished, a good change from Dreamdate, and their hour of playing seemed well founded. Also, one of the guitarists, Atsushi, had lovely hair and turned out to be a super-sweet guy and adorable too, so that never hurts.

But next came on Kiiii, and all opening bands were soon forgotten. Once they came out with a hardcore cheer, energetic as fuck-all, everything else faded by the wayside. Just two women, wearing little nightgowns with their hair up, ready to rock, they made quite a noise. Reminding me of my favorite band, eX-Girl, they had that band’s energy and dramatics without any pretension, following in eX-Girl's footsteps. They regaled the crowd with spoken word and music performances mixed together, all screamed at high decibels most people couldn’t imitate nor keep up all night. Honestly, it’s hard to describe. Mixing spoken word such as “Kiiiiiii does it right” with songs like “4 little joeys: No morel mix” and “Dance volder Bilber hill pop,” it was hard to keep up with what they’d do next. Would the vocalist play the keyboards, or pop out another cheer? Would the other woman take part in a puppet show or play drums? Guessing kept us on our toes, and their energy kept us enthralled.

I can now say my second favorite band is Kiiiiii, who take a lot from eX-Girl, but add enough of their own style to make them unique and flavorful.

Kiiiiii can be found at kiiiiiii!!!!.

- Diana Slampyak

Diana Slampyak is a regular contributor to Turntable & Blue Light.