On Sunday, I finally got to see an artist I had been wanting to see for about 15 years, ever since I got "Cloudy Cloud Calculator"! That's right, Takako Minekawa is back this year as a new unit with Baltimore-based guitarist Dustin Wong. Their album "Toropical Circle" has been announced for release on May 15, and they're doing some shows ahead of it.
So on March 24 was their so called "proper debut live" in Mineko's homeland, held at Soup in Ochiai, on the edge of Shinjuku and Nakano wards. They had invited indies band Living Astro as the opening act. The event was sold out without over-crowding the small venue.
I had seen Living Astro before at a "Farm Party" event organized by Tokyo Gig Guide (report), and it was fun to see them again. Members Guacamole K (girl) and Dokkun (boy) both play Korg Electribe sequencers, not synced together by anything but the two's great complicity. On top of that both also use samplers, and bass and guitar. Songs are very short, and their end is always indicated by Guacamole K's small bow and a shy laugh. They played about a dozen of them, all stuffed with creativity.
On March 6 was event "Monochromoon!" at yumemiru kimiomou (aka Moon Romantic). I wanted to go there for at least 3 reasons. The first was to see Nosa Lena, a band featuring singer Nosa Reina who released a solo album last year. Another reason was to see Tabuchi Jun, lately also active in band Love & Revolution with Sally Kubota which I saw a little while ago (report) and really liked the singer's voice and personality. The third reason was that I had never been to this venue, and I was attracted by the large moon that shines over the stage, which I had seen in photos many times before.
I arrived as Tabuchi Jun began his set. When entering you find yourself on the upper floor looking down to the stage, and it took me a minute to find the stairs on the opposite side, which I took to get a table seat on the main floor. The singer's repertory goes from folk to G.S. (group sounds) oriented rock. He performed mainly covers, and for a few songs he was joined by guitarist Kitamura Katsuhiko of G.S. band The Skeleons (later known as Lemon Roots). The set had a hilarious break where the singer shows off his imitation skills. At the end of his set he sang the theme song from "otoko wa tsurai yo" (original), complete with narration, to close with original song "yoru o makimodose" during which he walked through the audience throwing his own advertisement pocket tissues with his phone number on it (he said his parents got thousands made when the single was released). A really funny and charming guy!