Tokyo punks

Japan’s Mugen Hoso rocks Blind Bob’s

By Mike Ritchie

From the land of the rising sun comes a duo that proudly burn as many calories on stage as spending a whole day in an outdoor mosh pit would do. Hiro and Taro bring an old-school aesthetic to their show, with incredibly fast paced, virtually non-stop motion, movement and energy. They’ll do anything (within reason) to win a crowd over and judging from YouTube clips, guitarist and vocalist Hiro has no problem hanging out with the crowd, surfing and moshing, while playing. Taro keeps up the beat smashing and thrashing drums, giving Hiro a warp speed backbone delivering a much louder, fuller sound than two people with two instruments should be able to do. Mugen Hoso incorporates a style that you can’t help but be entertained by and remember.

Whether you like their sound or not, it can’t be denied that they earn their audience reaction. Taking a vintage high-octane approach of working a crowd into a frenzy, the two play a brand of blues, country and poppy-punk, blended with English and Japanese lyrics, with a uniquely American vibe to their delivery. There are elements of fun and humor with tastes of danger. Hiro uses every venue’s open space as his personal playground for adrenaline soaked calisthenics and other spur-of-the-moment actions that compel him. There are probably a few walls bearing his imprint across the country and pond.

From the country twanged tingle of “North Carolina Shepherd Dog” to the fun, sped up romp of “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll,” they have fun with what they do, and it shows.

Since 2005, with Hiro at the helm, they played with a varying assortment of bassists. Then in 2010 they played their first gig as a duo, things clicked and they’ve been playing western style songs fueled with a bit of the east that way since. Showmanship is of obvious high rank so along with adding humor with a Japanese flair Mugen Hoso is kind of like ’70s and ’80s punk, when the music was raw and dangerous. Like watching the Sex Pistols, you were never sure what would happen next.

Hiro and Taro explain that their band name translates to “infinity broadcasting,” which would account for their never-ending movement on stage. They confess that their inspirations reflect that of The White Stripes, The Black Keys and the Jon Spencer Explosion. Their style directs back to the days of The Police, The Clash and the Sex Pistols.

They have experienced different audiences in different countries and cultures. Compared to European and Japanese audiences, Taro says (with broken, but enthusiastic English) the American reflexes are good. “American [crowds are] upbeat!” he says. “They react to our performance very quickly.”

In terms of crowd participation (moshing, crowd surfing, etc.) Japanese crowds react a little differently than Americans. “Japanese [crowds are] dull, except [during] a festival, because of [being] shy,” Taro explains. “That’s why we go [to] USA!”

Mugen Hoso are incredibly high energy, with the band going to great lengths to entertain and get a rise from the audience, doing almost anything for a reaction. “[We] try to sing and play much better, because the audience must [have] more fun and [be] inspired [during] our show if we play well,” Taro says,  “Although we play with so [much] high energy and crazy performance.”

A YouTube search will produce a series of videos showing Taro and Hiro throwing down at various venues, giving a preview of what’s to come. Taro admits that Hiro has really gotten into it a few times by challenging a few sturdy walls for the crowd’s entertainment. “Hiro attacked a wall in the venue [once] when he was playing and running.,” Taro says. “[The] wall [was] broken.” But like the saying goes, as long as the audience liked it, that’s what matters. “They are always laughing and rocking with us,” he says.

To date, the band has produced six CDs and has played the Ohio area more than once. The Blind Bob’s show will be their return to Dayton and they’ve stopped by and destroyed walls in Cincinnati too. They’re both very busy on stage, reminiscing and mimicking the old-school punk greats of old.

Their songs are a mixture of styles and lyrics, incorporating both English and Japanese into the show. It’s a bilingual learning experience played with loud chords and slamming drums. You’re guaranteed not to fall asleep learning these words; you might even learn a few bad ones.

Mugen Hoso will play at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. SKRT and Yikes A Band are also on the bill. For more information, please visit or

Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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