Saturday was definitely the highlight of the May 24 weekend! We went to Volume 4 of the Next Music From Tokyo tour, and were blown away again. It’s quite hilarious that people pay hundreds of dollars to see Justin Beiber perform on a stage that’s a football field (or two) away from their actual seats, while NMFT gives you four bands, and an awesome night out in a tiny venue for eight dollars. The Volume 3 show last October was amazing, but it seems like every new tour just gets better.
The first band was Charan Po Rantan, which was a very very interesting performance, but probably one of the best experiences ever! Their music was actually a mix of everything awesome: Jazz, Salsa, Traditional Russian music, and Jewish influence all fused with a bit of Enka vocal style. At the same time, their music reminded me of some kind of Japanese idol pop music from the 60’s. In other words, this band was just too good. Their member line up was intense, and completely female: Two saxophone players, one upright bass, trumpet, front vocal, drummer, and accordion. It was such a treat to see a band full of such musical talent and such a cute band theme. All of the girls were dressed in adorable outfits that matched, but were also fixed and customized for each band member! Altogether it made my most favourite performance of the show.
I don’t even want to start about how talented their drummer is…just WOW. Here, watch a vid:
Next up was Group Inou, who apparently gave such an amazing performance the night before our show, that the audience is now banned from stage diving ever again (hahah!). So our show had to tone it down a bit, but it really didn’t stop us from having an awesome time. Their musical style was—how do I explain this… 8-bit Hardcore Rave music. And the ‘group’ really only consisted of two people: a vocalist (rapper) and a DJ. They both do a very good job getting the audience hyped up. The vocalist loves doing these retarded dances that would make anyone laugh. And the DJ was so into his dancing that my eyes were practically glued to him most of the time (haha). Their energy was pretty contagious, and on top of it their music was really fun. They’ve got some really catchy beats and I’m so glad we were able to see them live.
Then afterwards, it was Zazen Boys! These guys are already so popular in Japan, so I’m sure it was a shock to everyone that they were able to come to Canada for a small gig (in comparison) like this. But oh my god, we are so lucky they did. These guys are wicked live! They’re another group that is talented with the ability to mix a lot of genres, and create very ‘tricky’ music. I wish I could explain it in words better, but they’ve got such amazing control and coordination with each other and their instruments, that they can pause in the middle of any song as fast as they want for as long as they want and they will always stay unified. It was actually really fun to see that. They even had a little jam session with each other on stage, and you could really see that they loved their instruments like babies (hah). Everyone was jumping and screaming throughout the performance—it was too much fun.
The closing band for this show was Praha Depart. Not a lot to say for this band because for the way the night’s line-up was executed, this band gave a little bit of an anti-climax. This band only consisted of three members: drummer, guitar and vocal/bass. These guys no doubt have a lot of talent, but for some reason the girl that fronted could not reach her notes that night. You could definitely hear that she has an amazing tone in her voice, but for some reason the audience could only hear the unpleasing end of her notes. So, a lot of people weren’t quite feeling it since it was a little bit spoiled by that. Fortunately though, their rhythm really made up for that. They had another really talented technical drummer and a guitarist that loved creating a lot of strange, but harmonizing sounds with different pedals. Their music is actually quite catchy despite what I said about the vocals (‘cause to be honest, the melody of the vocals were catchy) so I wouldn’t say that they are a bad band, but they are definitely still ‘young’.
Out of the entire lineup, it would really be impossible to say which band I like the ‘most’, because everyone gave an amazing performance. Every band had something different that made them stand out! By the way, I won’t do this often, but I’m gonna make this post public because this is mostly a show review, but for all the hard work Steven Tanaka puts into bringing these shows to Canada, he deserves any exposure in case someone stumbles across this blog anyways (haha).