Running With the Wolves: Man With a Mission’s US Tour
With equal helpings of exuberance and strangeness, Japanese dance-pop/hard rock group Man With A Mission (MWAM) is set to bring their energetic act to the United States this summer. Their tour, which begins June 18, accompanies the release of their second EP on June 10, When My Devil Rises (on SONY/RED). Although MWAM has played in the US before, this is their first official tour, which will start in New York City and end in Anaheim, California, on July 12. The tour will also celebrate their acclaimed EP Don’t Feel the Distance, released last March.
The group’s infectious music, which mixes rock, pop punk, metal, grunge, and other influences, brought them fame in the clubs in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, a center of fashion and nightlife. Their popularity skyrocketed upon the release of their first full-length album, Man With a Mission Vol. I (2011). After three highly successful years of playing to sold-out audiences on their own and at music festivals (including Japan’s Summer Sonic 2011), they decided to bring their “mission” stateside. In their native Japan, their concerts and albums typically sell out in a matter of minutes, and the first single from their newest release, “Distance,” hit the #6 spot in Japan upon its early release in April.
The band’s signature sound is matched by their unique stage presence. During concerts and in interviews, group members wear custom-made wolf masks to go along with an elaborate back story, in which the “genius biologist” “Dr. Jimi” (as in Hendrix) created them to be a powerful super-race in the aftermath of a world war in which “Every living thing on the planet was locked in a chaotic battle to acquire each other’s wealth and power.”
The good doctor gave them not only superhuman strength and hyper-intelligence, but also, apparently, the ability to travel through time, a talent which allowed them to escape the clutches of a colorful cast of nefarious villains, including Ivan the Terrible. However, things went sour and Dr. Jimi locked them away in the glaciers of the frozen tundra before his death. Their release, in 2010, was brought to you by the glacial melt in the age of global warming. A recent promotional contest, “Students With a Mission,” asked high school age students to finish the story for a chance to win fancy gadgets like a Sony VAIO Tap 21.
Man With a Mission is comprised of Tokyo Tanaka (Vocals), Spear Ribs (drums) Jean-Ken Johnny (Vocals/ Guitar/Rap), DJ Santa Monica (DJ/Sampling), and Kamikaza Boy (Bass/BV’s). Their shows are definitely worth attending, even if it’s just because this might be your only chance to see werewolves from an alternate universe rock out. Beyond the intriguing costumes, the group’s very real musical ability is attested to by the likes of Metal Assault, Buzzfeed, and the Examiner, who noted that “Man With A Mission has solid musical chops. These guys may be just three years old, but their skills reveal the dedication of a lifetime.” It’s clear all that time travel has given them a chance to hone their talent—and their stage presence.
When My Devil Rises will be released on iTunes and can be purchased via the band’s website.
Tour dates below:
June 19 – Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary
June 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Cattivo
June 23 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
June 25 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
June 29 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird
July 2 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
July 3 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
July 6 – Sparks, NV – The Alley
July 8 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
July 10 – Los Angeles, CA – Whisky A Go Go