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The 5, 6, 7, 8's

Consider it a gift. Quentin Tarantino, for better or worse, seems to have an uncanny knack for jumpstarting, recharging, or otherwise breathing new life into the most unexpected careers. John Travolta, Pam Grier, David Carradine and Dick Dale are just the most recognizable luminaries to have benefited from the Tarantino Touch. In the first half of his acclaimed Kill Bill duology, Tarantino introduced the world to the garage-surf-Tokyo-punk sounds of the relatively unknown 5,6,7,8's.

As the story goes, Tarantino was browsing a Tokyo record shop when he by chance heard The 5,6,7,8's on the store stereo. Or perhaps it was a vintage clothing shop? A Japanese arcade…? Regardless of the varying accounts (approaching a questionably-deserved urban legend status), Quentin liked the music so much that he sought out and eventually cast The 5,6,7,8's playing their song "Woo Hoo" as a prelude to the climactic battle scene in Kill Bill part 1.

The band, formed in the 80's in the midst of a Japanese 60's revival, is such a natural fit to Tarantino's edgy-retro-kitsch style that there were almost no modifications necessary in their translation to film. They play themselves -- down to the beehive hairdos and Supremes-like bright yellow dresses (manufactured, as with all of their clothing, by the bass-player). You can be sure to expect something similar in concert.

The music is garage-retro to the core: foot-stompin' surf-a-go-go with enough punk thrown in to make Joey Ramone and his Rock & Roll High School proud. These are rollicking three-chord jaunts pounded out with deliciously loose intensity, complete with four bar drum breaks and sun-burned arpeggiated surf guitar riffs. Lead singer/guitarist Ronnie Yoshiko Fujiyama careens over the top of the rough & tumble mix with screams, yelps, punk rock inflections, and an incredibly infectious Japanese accent. There is enough camp in these tunes to shod a sock hop, and it'll surely be a jumping one with songs like "Jane of the Jungle", "Bomb the Twist", "Hanky Panky" and the appropriately named "Scream".

While some might question the wisdom of Travolta's post-Tarantino comeback attempts, there's no doubt that it's about time the world got an earful of The 5,6,7,8's. They've been having too much fun for far too long. Catch them while you can, 'cause once the Tarantino buzz dies, we all know that just about anything can happen.