The Gaia were part of that first wave of Japanese hardcore bands to hit the Bay Area in the mid ‘90s, and played a big part in setting the standard for future bands to come. I don’t remember why I didn’t go to their first show, but I remember hearing about it. They played at Gilman in November of 1995, in between the Pee Chees and Bikini Kill. The Gaia started dishing out the hardcore and apparently, the Riot Grrls’ reaction was something akin to running for their lives. I guess there was just too much estrogen onstage for them to handle. Not long after that, Six Weeks put out the Gaia’s No. 1 EP, which is a fantastic piece of vinyl.
Fortunately, the Gaia returned to the Bay Area in early 1997. Again, the show was at Gilman, but with a better lineup—Capitalist Casualties, the Dread, Fields of Shit, and a band from Oregon called Gunpro. It was a great show, and I remember going ballistic when the Gaia started to rip it up. In fact, I puked my guts out after their set from dancing too hard. But damn it all, it was worth it.
Considering that Prank Records, Six Weeks, and Sound Pollution have released a handful of Gaia records between them, I don’t think you could label them an obscure band. Yet I don’t recall their name coming up often when people creamed their jeans over Japanese hardcore a few years ago. Frankly, a lot of those bands weren’t qualified to tighten the Gaia’s bra straps, despite the hype.
Because we figure that their American releases are easier to find, we’ve decided to post the Gaia’s 1994 debut, titled Kick Up Ass!! Amoeba Records in Berkeley had it filed in their Japanese music (and I don’t mean punk) section, and I snapped it up for $7. The title certainly fits as these ladies deal out fourteen thrashings that will reduce even the most macho of frat boys to a quivering mass of jelly.
Get kicked here.