Last Saturday, I saw Doravideo open up for dueling two-girl prog-pop units M.A.G.O. and Kiiiiiii at Shinjuku Red Cloth . The drummer has MIDI-triggers hooked on to his drums that carry signals through fancy Max/MSP programming to effect various video clips. On their Kill Bill routine, for example, the drum hits call up Tarantino’s celebration of bloody limbs and create subtle musical sequences from the accompanying sound effects. Most of Doravideo’s footage is copyrighted material, so they can’t sell their DVD on the open market. But they might just throw a disc in for free if you buy an (overpriced!) 2000 yen sticker.
Apart from the amazing hi-tech video triggering, the content itself is also pretty explosive. There are some neat pieces that cut up Zatouichi and other old movies, but the two-man team mostly engage in some pretty heavy political and critical commentary. While creating a new musical composition from a video clip of jazz pianist Ayado Chie, a message scrolling at the bottom of the screen bashes the performer as a modern blackface artist only respected by clueless music fans out in the countryside. Several times, their footage made fun of the emperor’s daughter Sayako and her husband. Before Doravideo even went on, their live schedule was projected on a screen featuring the Crown Prince Naruhito superimposed on top of a dozen fully naked Western porn models clutching machine guns. Another disturbing clip showed an amateur home video of National Tax Office employees taking an onsen vacation, getting sloppily drunk, and sexually harassing prostitutes on taxpayer dollars.
Despite the “un-Japanese” venomous messages, the performances captured almost everybody’s undivided attention for the whole half-hour. Doravideo look like they are going to have a big year ahead of them.