Performance art will abound throughout Miami during the weekend of Art Basel, but few performers are as committed to putting on an insane show as Daikaiju, which will return to South Florida when it plays Saturday night at Kill Your Idol. The band's show at the same venue this past October poured onto the street, where the band, audience, and pedestrians became entwined with volume and flames.
The band's name is a reference to kaiju, a Japanese film genre that features giant monsters attacking cities, the military, and other monsters. With songs referencing famous movie monsters such as Mothra, the Huntsville, Alabama-based quartet plays surf instrumentals with a twist. Not only is there no singing, but also the four members of Daikaiju do not speak during their concerts. Or perhaps they do speak, but audiences never hear what the guys are muttering because their faces are covered with kabuki masks.
There is a tradition of masked musicians. Los Straitjackets performed wearing Mexican wrestling masks. Daft Punk has found great success impersonating robots, and the Aquabats played ska while clad as superheroes. But Daikaiju takes its performances to another level. The band's shows are raucous affairs punctuated by loud, shredding surf guitar and pyrotechnics courtesy of drum kits set ablaze.
As part of their bizarre schtick of keeping in character as Japanese monsters, the bandmates rarely do interviews. New Times thought it had a scoop when Daikaiju agreed to conduct a correspondence via email:
New Times: What is the origin of Daikaiju?
Daikaiju: GREAT STORKS DELIVERED BABY DAIKAIJU TO PROUD PARENTS!!!
How long did it take for you to get comfortable playing with masks on?
DAIKAIJU WAS BORN WEARING MASKS!!!
How did you choose your masks?
DAIKAIJU PULLED OFF ITS FLESH MASKS TO REVEAL ITS TRUE FACE!!!
How did the idea of setting the drum kit on fire come about?
DAIKAIJU SURFS ALL THE ELEMENTS — EARTH, WIND, TEQUILA AND FIRE!!!
What's the craziest/most memorable show you guys have ever put on?
THE LEGEND OF DAIKAIJU GROWS WITH EVERY ATTACK!!!
What can people expect at your Miami show?
THE MOST EXCITING SHOWER OF GOLDEN EUPHORIA!!!
Any plans on checking out any Art Basel festivities while you're here?
Daikaiju. 8 p.m. Saturday, December 9, at Kill Your Idol, 222 Española Way, Miami Beach; facebook.com/killyouridolmiami; 305-534-1009. Admission is free.