This week’s Nippon in NY events: legendary metal band Loudness and songstress Akiko Yano in concert!

Legendary Japanese metal band Loudness return to Times Square's B.B. King Blues Club & Grill June 1.

After their successful tour of Europe last year capped with a headlining gig at Germany’s prestigious Bang Your Head!!! festival, Japan’s Loudness are invading North America for the first time since their sold out 2006 tour, and only the second time since 1991!

Formed in 1981 in Osaka, vocalist Minoru Niihara, guitarist Akira Takasaki (A.K.A. the Eddie Van Halen of Japan), bassist Masayoshi Yamashita and drummer Munetaka Higuchi joined forces to become not only Japan’s premier metal band, but a world class act in their own right, releasing five English-language albums in America in their heyday.

On June 1, the group storms Times Square’s B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, where they last played five years ago in a historic gig filmed for their Loudness in America 06 DVD. (The disc doubles as an epitaph for Higuchi, who succumbed to liver cancer two years later. He was replaced in 2009 by Masayuki Suzuki.)

Featuring all three surviving original members, this is a rare opportunity for American audiences to experience the power of Loudness’ earthshaking live show. The band will perform such hits as “Crazy Night” from their classic Thunder in the East album (released in America in 1985), as well as tracks spanning their entire career. New York industrial rockers Blue Movie will support.

Metal not your cup of cha? On June 3, Japan Society presents Akiko Yano Solo: Revealing Her Magic. This one-night-only appearance is billed as a concert and talk, exploring renowned singer-songwriter Akiko Yano‘s original music, as influenced and inspired by the unique rhythm and intonation of the Japanese language. In this performance, Yano demonstrates how she bends prose, phrases and salutations into her own musical expressions.

A child piano prodigy, Yano, garnered international acclaim with her 1976 hit debut album Japanese Girl. Since then, Yano has released 28 original albums and continues to perform in concerts around the world. Born and raised in Japan, Yano’s current home is New York City, where she sings to sold-out houses at Joe’s Pub each year, and most recently, debuted at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village.

Yano is known for her brilliant interpretation of Japanese poems and old folk songs, and the unique way she molds them into pop music. For this special performance, the celebrated chanteuse will showcase her gift to bend prose into enchanting musical expression, connecting kotoba (word) intonation with simple, sophisticated and soulful melodies.

Through June 30, fifty percent of all Japan Society ticket and admission sales will go to Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund, which at press time has raised over $8 million with nearly 19,000 donors.

Loudness performs Wednesday, June 1 at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street (between Seventh and Eight Avenues) at 8:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show. For more information, click here. Visit Loudness online at

Akiko Yano Solo: Revealing Her Magic will be held Friday, June 3 at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues), 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $28/$22 Japan Society members/$15 for 2010-11 Toyota Language Center students. Purchase tickets here or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258. Visit Akiko online at