Artists Of The Year

CMU Artists Of The Year 2012: Trippple Nippples

By | Published on Tuesday 11 December 2012

Trippple Nippples

My introduction to Tokyo-based trio Trippple Nippples came just over a year ago in the form of ambient pop track ‘Goldenroad’. Whether this is the best route into their music or not is debatable, but if nothing else it ensured maximum impact at the moment I discovered just how unrepresentative of their sound it was. More typical tracks, such as ‘LSD’, show off a kind of frantic, tribal pop – a description that matches their unforgettable live shows.

And it’s those live shows that earn them a place in our Artists Of The Year list this year. I’d missed a London gig by a matter of days when I heard that first track. But, after reading reviews of their performances in the UK, US and Tokyo, and about the chaos that ran through all of them (both controlled and less so – a tendency to throw things like buckets of popcorn and chicken feathers at their audiences has seen them banned from at least two venues in their home city), I made a mental note not to miss out when they returned to the UK. And when they did, the opportunity to see them three times in the space of a week is one I’m glad I didn’t pass up.

You could say Trippple Nippples’ music is a reaction to the clean cut predictability of j-pop. They have all the makings of a pop group, but it’s a version of a pop group you might see in a particularly lucid nightmare. Arriving on stage in overalls adorned with hand painted markings, Yuka, Qrea and Nabe rap, bark, sing and scream while throwing themselves around the stage. Their similarly adorned backing band soundtrack this with something akin to an electro take on black metal.

By the time of their first show at The Great Escape festival in Brighton that week word had begun to get around, with a decent-sized crowd navigating the maze of side streets and alleyways that lead to the aptly-named Warren venue.

Its high stage looked like it could scupper the intimate feel of the London show I’d attended earlier that week, as well as the more interactive elements, not least the spitting of half-chewed bread into the face of one unwitting audience member at The Macbeth. Not so though, members of the trio regularly appeared deep into the crowd, and towards the end another notable element of that London show – a 30 foot long backdrop bearing their name (most of which had disappeared down a corridor) – was sent snaking through the audience.

But shows on a Monday and Thursday are not what a band like this is made for. Saturday at 1am is more like it, and that’s when their final Great Escape show at The Loft was scheduled. Full to capacity by people who had either seen that previous show or spent the previous two days hearing people evangelise about it, anticipation was high and Trippple Nippples more than met it.

By far the best and most energetic of the shows, on the part of both band and audience, it was growing to an intense peak when the power to the stage went out with one song to go. There was no question of anyone leaving, and the abrupt stop led to ten minutes or so of roaring chants for more. When the power returned, ‘LSD’ seemed to explode off the stage and everyone threw themselves around for three minutes, tying themselves up in that backdrop and bringing the gig to a proper and thunderous close.

See all of CMU’s Artists Of The Year for 2012 here.