hiteout were into their second number in Tokyo’s Club Quattro and halfway through the band’s mini-tour of the Far East. I wasn’t prepared for the scene inside, and probably nor were they. The sea of swaying heads, waving arms and bouncing bodies belonged, almost entirely, to a group of girls fresh out of high school. The mass hysteria, punctuated by shrieks of ‘Eriku’ or ‘Andy’, was little short of the frenzied fan- worship associated with The Beatles or, to go for a Scottish analogy, the Bay City Rollers, who enjoyed huge popularity in Japan long after the last shang-a-lang had died out in Britain.

Real, live teenyboppers? Yup. In eight years in Japan, I’ve never come across their like. The band - four unjaded lads from Greenock are delighted by all this adulation. They were having a grand time, and giving a fine display of perfect pop. But then this audience was never going to be difficult to please. At one point, lead singer Andrew Jones grabbed a Polaroid camera

10 The List 2-15 Jun 1995

ig in Japan

Still filed under the ‘ones to watch’ category in their own country, Greenock mop-tops Whiteout

and pointed it at the crowd. ‘Let’s pause for a moment, so I can take a picture.’ he grinned. The ploy kept the girly crowd screaming minutes after the shutter clicked.

And so it went for the next hour as band and audience surfed on a wave of accelerated enthusiasm. Loads of flowers and, curiously, an apple which Jones immediately bit into, were hurled at the stage after he shouted; ‘Doomo Arigato. We luv ya.’ Backstage after the gig, a group of fans needless to say all female were already lined up outside. They were waiting demurely for their turn to deliver presents via the band’s manager to their idols. I asked a giggling pair, who told me they’d graduated from high school this year, how they liked the show. ‘It was great! They’re so sweet. They had fun so we had fun.’ The same giggly enthusiasm gushed from many other equally youthful, similarly jeans-and-T—shirt-clad girls.

Inside the dressing room, which was full of untouched wine, beer and other refreshments, Whiteout mOpped sweat from their collective

recently played to hordes of

ecstatic Japanese teenagers. Kate Klippensteen was in Tokyo to witness the second coming

of Beatlemania.

brows, and exchanged breathless anecdotes on the show. The audience’s enthusiasm was infectious, and the band had caught it. So how was the tour going? They all sort of shake their heads and grin like idiots, not quite believing their luck. ‘What can I say? It’s been fantastic,’ says Jones. ‘We’ve been treated royally, and our shows have been selling out. The other night the club even let in an extra hundred people. It was absolutely mad!’

What was madder was the mob scene that greeted Whiteout when they left the building for a waiting van. At least 50 young girls who had waited outside the backstage door started grabbing, squealing, snapping photos and thrusting presents as they emerged after the show. Once the band was safely inside, the besotted crowd closed round the vehicle, still screaming. With studied irony, Andrew sang a few bars of a familiar song: ‘lt’s been a hard day’s night . . .’ while bassist Paul Carroll mumbled good humouredly: ‘Hey, they almost nicked my jacket again.’ For his trouble, he had