So with my tour taking me out west away from Tokyo I head to Kansai area where I will play a fortnight of shows in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. This can only really be a good thing as the 2 weeks of shows I had in Tokyo and Chiba were hugely effected by the 8.9 earthquake/Tsunami that had hit 3 weeks before I arrived. However in Kansai they were another 7 hours bus ride away from the epicenter and on the grand scheme of things there was very little sign of impact there. Infact the first thing I picked up on was the out spoken anger towards the government and the Nuclear Power companies who were struggling to overcome the chaos left in Fukushima plant that was nearing meltdown. Many locals to the Kansai area believed the rain-clouds to be overhead dropping toxic rain on their city. Personally the change of location was going to be positive thing if not just for the distance from the chaos but also for the Kansai food which I’ve very much come to love.
With regards to my shows I had my first in the area as a part of an outdoor event to raise funds for the people effected. The event was in the centre of Osaka and having taken the overnight bus I had slept very little. But the show itself went by without any problems. Next was a festival in Kobe. Put together by Wax who manages a great venue called Varit. I felt honored to be the only foreign performer of the 50 odd acts involved. The shows played that day went really well. The crowd were full of life and I responded accordingly to the upbeat vibes. Audience whooping was a-plenty and so my loops got caught up with upbeat falsettos sounds rotating in the mix. Somehow it worked.
The following day was a show in Kyoto. My first infact despite having visited the area previously. The show was a noise experimental night and I discovered upon arrival that I was not the only foreigner on the billing as a bunch of guys from Tenerife arrived. It was there second day in Japan and their first show; and I could see they were bewildered by the initial unfamiliar organised chaos that Japan presents. All the acts got on well and I have to thank Go for his help with getting me shows in Kyoto. Two nights later I was playing a 2nd show in the city and low and behold my friends from tenerife were playing this night also. For the second time I got Rodrigo from the group to join me on Tenor Sax. A mighty fine player he was too bringing back shades of later day Coltrane and Pharoh Sanders with his high pitched squeals intensely effected with envelope filters and delays. That show ended up being probably my favourite in the Kansai area. It was also a geeky moment of glory to discover Jim O’Rouke (Sonic Youth and many other projects) had played the same venue 4 days prior.
Speaking of geeky moments of glory; I did plenty of checking out of vinyl shops whilst in these area and managed to track down some pure geek joys. The first (and only) Crashand LP for only 100 yen. I think a pure geek moment comes from such joy personally for something that is so irrelevant to almost everyone else. Part of my youth this record 🙂
A further run of shows returning to Kobe and Osaka and then back to Kyoto took there toll and illness started to set in. By the time I played my final date in Nagoya I was somewhat exhausted and bewildered by the physical exhaustion I was facing. I thought I could push on through but unfortunately I later found out it doesn’t just go away. (more on that in the next blog)
On the whole the Kansai leg of the tour had been frankly awesome and I was relived and happy to feel like things were back on track.
A return to Tokyo followed….
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