With my final run of Tokyo shows coming to such a nice end with the ‘Cocco’ Show I felt a positive sense of satisfaction when I returned to Chiba to finish my tour. Show number 30 was again at the Toppers Bar where the atmosphere was perfect for any musician with the crazy buscle for people to to get to a good spot for the show. Again I was joined by Graham and Eiji as we rocked it trio style. A really great night for us all I think.
My final show of the tour was outside in the street of Chiba. A duo show with Eiji saw us blast out the loops and jazz vibes out to many bemused Sunday shoppers. I felt so europhoric as we extended the songs and the solo’s with much freedom and communication without words. I found myself post show thinking how crazy it was that the next time I would be performing would be in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s when those crazy fact pop into your brain that you realise the gravity of things. I knew I would miss so much about Japan. I’d also have to reel in my bowing which had got slightly out of control. I think I’d got to a ratio of a bow every other sentence. The Kiwi’s will think I’m a right weirdo.
Ok So my return to the Tokyo end of Japan has brought me many joyous shows. Infact I hadn’t had a bad show all tour when I think about it.
Thanks to the help of other Japanese musicians like Kei Takasugi, Shusaku, Kuronuma, Yugo, Jerry and Goga-Tech. I been able to play some wonderful places in Tokyo.
Unfortunately that joyous run did come to a bit of an end when I played a spot in a small bar in Shinjuku, The night was generally good and I was proud to bring a good number or people to the place who had seen me before, and so the bar seemed welcoming of my music and friends. However at the end of the night I was stung a little as the bar man who had been pouring me drinks that I hadn’t been asking for, then turned around and billed me. He also demanded a split of the musicians tips money (which was counted out of sight) for his services as a DJ
(He spun maybe four records) for the night. I was a little put out as he was already getting his barman wage. So to then take a chunk out of my tips (my only earnings) and to bill me for the drinks he’d offered me seemed a little harsh.
I protested as best I could but the language barrier was suddenly not seemingly clear all of a sudden and so I left having argued a slight reduction in the drinks bill, but that was my lesson for the night.
Oh well, You must learn these things some time. 😦
However the following night was the polar opposite. A great band called Alter-bingo got me involved in playing a super cool place called A-Bridge. The vibe was fantastic, the music was fantastic, the place was fantastic. After I played the owner gave me vouchers for free drinks and bought all three of my records. I felt very welcomed. 🙂
Following on from that I played shows in Ikenoue, Shibuya and Shimokitazawa. The final show of those was a very cool gig. I was supporting a wonderful singer from Okinawa called ‘Cocco’. She has been making music for many years and has just released her 7th album. Her set was frought with emotion and vitriolic passion as she smashed her percussion rig at times beyond repair whilst her guitarist ‘Susuhu’ played some of the best dirge acoustic I’ve heard in a long time. They were really welcoming to me and I felt a great bond with them. Hopefully I will be playing show or two with them upon return to Japan next year.
If I’ve got my tech bits right, there will be a picture attached somewhere.
Hey everyone! The tremendous Mark Garvey has completed a new video for my track ‘Dare We Claim Victory?’ and I’m pretty damn chuffed with it! Check it out and let me know your thoughts!
I just spoke to the BBC about my time in Japan and my plans for the next few months… Here’s what I had to say for my little self:
OK so farewell I say to Kansai and to so many new friends I made during my travels.
Next Stop is Nagoya. Here I play a very unique show supporting a multinational super group Semi-on http://www.semion.org/.
They were lovely folks and when I had played my set I kicked back in relaxed mode with whiskies aplenty. However my night was not done as I was asked to return to the stage for a second impromptu set a couple of hours later.
…Only problem being that I was Hammered.
Muscle memory did generally serve me well at this point as I fumbled through `Reality and Pretence` and `Watching Paint` had a different vibe as due to my drunken openness I invited each and every member of the audience up to the stage to contribute their own unique sound to my loop jam. This could have so easily backfired but in a bizaare sense of unity everyone got involved with minimal damage . Thanks to all and everyone there that night for making it such a semi memorable occasion.
Next came my return to Tokyo or Chiba to be precise. I played on the street through a big ol PA that had my loops making the glass on the nearby shopping centre shudder. I was joined again by Eiji (Keys) and Graham (Tenor Sax) as we rocked it with some fair fluidity for three people who have never rehearsed. 🙂
Later that same day I headed to Shimokitazawa (The Japanese Camden Town) where I played a rare all-non Japanese performers show. This was my only chance to recite a bit of spoken word. I’m a poet and… Well, I was fully aware of that fact.
Next came shows in Shimo, Yokohama and Akihabara. The latter of which was attended by my friend (from old skool Stu life) Maya. I felt alarmingly nervous as Maya knew me from my days as a 16 year old bastard love child of Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan wannabe. It`s strange how folks from a time of less confidence bring those insecurities to the surface again. But in the end I took to the stage and made the same noises I always make. Although my stage banter sucked; I was an englishman in Japan. The perfect place to get away with chatting shit down a mic.
Maybe I should play every gig here 😉
Kia Ora Folks.
Nip over to my bookings page to find out the latest in my `Good Times With Evil` World tour schedule. I`m nearly at the end of my time in Japan and next on the Geographical Calender will be Aotearoa.
So I was finished with my soundcheck at Club Goodman in Akihabara, Tokyo and decided to wander to the loacal record store. When my mobile goes off.
It was only the bloody BBC. “Hello it`s the British Broadcasting Corporation and we heard about your tour of Japan and would like to interview you.” (Or something to that effect)
And so I rambled untill they told me to stop. 🙂
The full interview will be broadcast tomorrow in the UK, 7pm – 8pm.
Available at the following frequencies: 95.5fm – 103.8fm – 104.5fm
They will also play the track `Map of Shibuya`. But you can hear that here:
Well the Rambles conitinue with my final run of shows in the Kansai Area. As mentioned in my previous blog I had been sleeping in one of the Kobe livehouses and I have developed a routine of playing a show, Sleeping in the venue and then heading to the nearest Intenet cafe to shower. (Yes they have showers in these things, That kinda indicates how some people pretty much live in these places). Usually the next thing I`d have to do would be to try and work out a way to get to my next show. This would often involve various net serches and when making the trip many almost sharades-esque physical gestures to try and communicate my dilemma. Plus with all my effect padals I`d be missioning hard to get myself and my equipment from a to b. However: On this given day my good friend Wax offered to hire a car and drive me to Osaka where my next show was due to take place. And thank fate he did as the place was really tough to find. Even for Wax (who is Japanese).
The show was with a wonderful Duo called `NolenNiu-de-Ossi`. I shared a stage with them at the Kansai Music Conference where they played on my tune `You Know the Score` and I played on their tune `The Funeral of the Fox and the Racoon Dog`. Their music is really diverse and they play traditional Japanese instruments and sing songs about Stories of Japanese folklore. They are great players great people and have toured Japan America and will come to the UK next year.
Here`s their website: http://www.de-ossi.com/
The show ended ok but at one point I felt cursed as two leads were stopping working, A power supply stopped powering and I broke a string. However I kept my head up and with a bit of help and a warm local crowd I came through unscathed.
The following night I had a real treat. As mentioned in a earlier Japan tour blog. I was able to share a billing with `Haco` who I am a geeky fan of. We seemed to get on well and when I quipped that it`d be great to share a stage with her one day I was surprised to hear that she was up for the idea. So my final Kansai show became a duo show with `Haco`. The show was predominantly improvisation but we did play a version of one of `Haco`s compositions `Less than Lovers, More Than Friends` as a part of the half hour set. This night was a true honour and a joy and I have felt a great connection with `Haco as an artist for along time. However I now feel I can also say I feel the connection with her as a friend.