Superorganism: Let’s fame

Superorganism | Mark Thompson photos

The Red Marquee was more packed for the Superorganism show than any we’ve ever seen when it wasn’t raining. Since it’s the international band’s first foray to Japan, why all the interest? Well, mainly, it’s because the group’s lead singer, Orono Noguchi, is a Japanese teen who joined the group as a fan and basically took it over, despite the fact that everyone else in the group is about 10 years older.

You wouldn’t know that from her stage demeanor, where she acts like a gangster, creating cognitive dissonance of a different sort. Superorganism’s music is an artless blend of hip-hop style and ABBA effusiveness. Noguchi’s often off-key vocals set a standard for honesty while the group choruses summon up images of high school glee clubs.

But it was Noguchi’s between-song patter that made the show. Using the f-word as verb, adjective, noun, adverb and directive she took the piss out of the crowd, lying about her provenance (“I’m from the south, Adelaide, Australia”), making fun or her Japanese heritage (“he’s more Japanese than I am, which means he’s a good Japanese”), pretending she doesn’t speak Japanese (though she’s fluent in English and speaks with an American accent, she apparently grew up in Japan), acting like the arrogant rock star, and then tearing it all down (“I sound stupid, don’t I?”).

Everybody wants to be famous, as their song goes, but only Orono Noguchi understands why that’s a dumb desire. Weirdly enough, the audience understood, and even though the band didn’t play their full 50-minute set, they gave them an ovation that may make Noguchi wonder what it is about these Japanese.