A couple days prior to one of the biggest music events of the summer, Fuji Rock Festival, Wuhan-born quartet Chinese Football arrived at Tokyo’s Live House Fever the final stop on their third Japan tour. With an addictively emotive sound reminiscent of Japanese legends eastern youth, as well as post-rock band toe, Chinese Football served up a phenomenal show within the intimate venue.

What made this night special is that Mike Kinsella, also known as Owen from American Football, also made an appearance. As long time fans of Kinsella’s rock trio, Chinese Football had dreamed of playing with American Football for years. Following this initial union, fans can expect to see the bands play together more often during their joint Hong Kong tour this month.

Chinese Football started off the night with “400 metres” from their self-titled 2015 album, continuing with “The Last Emo Boy on Earth,” “Rafting in the World” and “Dog’s Diary” from their most recent album Continue?. Between songs, the band spoke to fans in a mixture of Japanese, English and Chinese. Language barriers were no issue, however. As lead singer Xu Bo explained onstage, intimacy exists beyond words and the venue overflowed with a sense of community. The crowd absorbed the band’s energy, at times meloncholic and other times upbeat, dancing and moving freely about the tightknit room as the set reached a crescendo of emotion and sound. 

During his set, Kinsella stated with much respect to the headliners that, “even given the context, Chinese Football is a stupid name.” Despite the friendly dig, the four musicians seemed unbothered and thanked Kinsella for sharing a stage with them after his set. The group was clearly pleased to be back in Japan, doing what they love in front of their fans and their own personal rockstar like a child proudly showing their parent that they can ride a bike without help.
The Chinese music scene hasn’t reached its peak yet in Tokyo but the band still filled up the venue on a Tuesday night. This young promising group showed its potential to be a new rock hero for a new generation and left the audience wanting to see them on bigger and better stages in the next few years.