November 30, 2007

We Want More!

Song For My Father - Leon Thomas
A Different View - LTC
Stars - Nostalgia 77 Octet
Fisherman - The Congos
Irresistible - Sizzla
My People - Angie Stone featuring James Ingram

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra
General Confessional - The Electric Prunes
We Want More - Soil & "Pimp" Sessions
Budos Rising - The Budos Band

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions a Shibuya AX

The stage was enveloped in darkness and then soft lights came on as the band took to the stage. They started the set with "Dawn" and a spectrum of colour appeared behind them while they played, leaving them in silhouette. The song gradually built to its climax and then the black sheet that was hanging down in front of the stage fell and the stage was bathed in light as they launched into "Suffocation". Tonight was the last night of their autumn tour which has seen them take in cities in several European countries and a national tour of Japan, and they were playing to a sellout crowd at Shibuya AX. They were in full throttle, barely letting up the pace for the entire gig, playing songs such as "Pluto", "We Want More" and "マクロけ"/"マシロケ" ("Makuroke"/"Mashiroke") before a funky interlude from J.A.M. and continuing with songs like "The Party", "Summer Goddess" and "Sahara" before reaching a climax with "Slaughter Suite" and "Slaughter Theme". There was a three track encore featuring "Come On Baby", a new song from the soundtrack of a forthcoming film.

A bloody good gig and even at the end of the energy-filled set the audience would have happily watched more. We definitely do want more and will be looking out for their next tour.

November 26, 2007

Hats! - 13

A suede number by the New York Hat Co.

Hand made hair salon flyer

November 18, 2007

Turn It Up

Disposition - Nils Krogh
Time Is Love - quasimode feat. Carmen Lundy
Voices Whisper - Marc de Clive-Lowe
Prayer - The Stance Brothers
Heal The Nation - Jacob Miller
90% Of Me Is You - The Dynamics
Surely - DJ Spinna
Turn It Up - Shuya Okino
Breathe - Pink Floyd
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot

November 12, 2007

Shop sign in Koenji

I'll leave the captions to your imagination ....

November 07, 2007

Quasimode at the Liquid Room in Ebisu

I had been eagerly awaiting this concert for some time, as I hadn't seen Quasimode before but have enjoyed their first two albums. Despite the fact that their second album, 'The Land of Freedom' was released in September, this was billed as a release party. It was certainly a special concert as they had guest appearances from Massa, the sax player from Sleep Walker, and from legendary American jazz singer Carmen Lundy. The four-piece were also backed by a 6-member horn section, so from the posters alone, it was clear that it was something not be missed .

Shuya Okino of Kyoto Jazz Massive was the warm-up DJ, and then the band were on, starting with the intro track 'Catch The Fact' before launching into 'The Man From Nagpur' and their version of Tubby Hayes 'Down In The Village' ~ a superb way to kick off the set. A few songs later they were joined by Massa on sax, who gave a blistering rendition of 'Raw Cotton Field', fingers flying over the keys and pads of his soprano. Next Carmen Lundy was on stage for a couple of songs, with 'Time Is Love' being absolutely outstanding. From there on the band turned up the heat even more, playing some great club jazz, rounding of the set with title track of their latest album, before an encore of 'Oneself-Likeness'.

A superb concert and it seems it was recorded for release as a live album, which will be out next spring.

November 06, 2007

Pottery, gyouza and jazz in Tochigi

It was up at dawn on Sunday and on one of the first trains of the morning to Hamamatsu-cho station to get on a tour bus headed for Tochigi prefecture. The trip would include a visit to Mashiko for the pottery festival and Utsunomiya for the gyouza and jazz festivals.

The bus pulled into Mashiko just after 9:30 and there was three hours to look around the festival stalls, which sounds like a long time, but in fact there were hundreds of stalls and plenty of interesting stuff to see.

A giant pottery tanuki (or raccoon dog), as seen outside many a Japanese eatery. There were hundreds of these on sale in all sizes.

A small pottery sofa at one of the smaller, trendier stalls.
Among the different souvenirs being sold to visitors was this pack of grasshoppers cooked in soy sauce (I think). As tempting as they looked, I decided to pass.

From there, the bus travelled for another hour before arriving in Utsunomiya where we had another three hours to enjoy gyouza (kind of pan-fried dumplings), which the city is fmaous for, and watch some live jazz. There were several areas around the city where gyouza stalls were set up, and after waiting in a long queue, you could get one portion (4 dumplings) for just 100 yen. Great stuff.

There were also four stage areas around the city where there were musicians playing jazz and soul music. The festival has been taking place for ovr 30 years and always features professional and amateut musicians from Tochigi prefecture. It was good fun, though with only three hours before the bus headed back to Tokyo, there wasn't really enough time to do it justice.

November 05, 2007

Skunky funky

La femme d'argent - Air
Life in the country - The Ebonys
1 2 3 4 - John Arnold featuring Paul Randolph
7 Nation Army - The Dynamics
Skunky Funky - Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra
Garra - Marcos Valle
Sphinx - indigo jam unit
Take Inventory - The Isley Brothers
Pipe Bag - The Haggis Horns
Summer Rain - Natalie Gardiner