Japanther at VillaManuela Festival. Madrid, Spain. Concert Review

by Mar de Miguel Bonet

Japanther was the band in charge to open the presentation of the new festival VillaManuela in Madrid, Spain. Three days of concerts, art and tapas to promote the stores and venues of Malasaña, a neighbourhood in the centre of the city. Dead Meadow, Male Bonding, Pretty & NiceSean Nicholas Savage, Tropic of Cancer or The Atom Age, where some of the bands playing at the festival.

Japanther was playing at the third floor of Museo ABC, an unusual place for a festival, but a modern and pretty building. My first impression when arriving was that I was at the wrong zoo. Too many beautiful people for a punk gig and too many boutique hipsters, not a word that I use normally, but perfect for this moment. Then the band got the stage and by their faces I thought for one second that they were going to open singing… first of all, fuck you all….(listen).


But not, that was not the opening song. Japanther is a band that Eat like Lisa and Act like Bart. This, apart of being the name of their last album, it’s Japanther’s attitude, I mean that they are a strong and wild band on stage but extremely polite when you reach them and have the chance to talk to them.


Gig was good. Ian without shoes at the left side, Matt at the right, singing with telephones as microphones, the band played around three songs from their last album, another three from their previous one and some old tracks. I didn’t recognise any song from their new EP, Donut Shop Bounce, a hip hop  work      

including collaborations with Cheeky BlakkSissy Nobby and Nicky Da BBut I could be wrong, as this is just released and I was not very familiar with their last releases.


Japanther gigs are always different. The band use to interact with their fans, and you never know what’s going to happen, as you can’t predict their reactions. In this case, not too many fans in there as it was a private show, but Japanther’s fans are very loyal to the band and they got invitations directly from Ian and Matt. This tells me something, Japanther move their fans where ever they go. And it is normal. The duo from New York gives it all on the stage, they care about their public and they are honest on what they do. 

And although I saw them last year playing at Nasti Club and the ambient was warmer (see concert review and interview here), I personally enjoyed this gig at Museo ABC very much. I had a good moment singing and dancing Porcupine or Bloody Mess with Japanther’s fans, listening to the new songs from the last album and being close to these two guys that they made me very happy with their music in a special day for me: my birthday.


And that’s all. I won’t extend this article too much as we have a special collaborator covering their biggest performance in our country, at Barcelona’s Apolo. So let’s see how was that show.