On Saturday May 26 was the 10th edition of the "Beat Communist" event presented by Nakatsuka Takeshi (Qypthone), which is regularly held every 3 months at jazz club JZ Brat. I had been curious about it for a long time, but it was my first time there.
Upon entering, the guests are given a collectible badge, different every time but one's collection always starts with the first design of the series. Also the optional dress code of "dots" was checked and the complying guests were given a special coin giving right to a free food portion. Yes, the event even has its own catering corner where food unit Hitch x kakeru* had prepared over 10 variations of food and desserts. While waiting for the show to start I enjoyed curry-flavored potato nuggets and a burrito.
This event always features Nakatsuka Takeshi's own set, and I think also P.O.P ORCHeSTRA, while the other bands are different every time. This time the guest shows were by jazz singer akiko, and Kaji Hideki.
First on stage was P.O.P ORCHeSTRA, a rap unit featuring identical twin vocalists and backed by a jazzy band of piano, guitar, bass and drums. It was my first time seeing them and they sounded really good and had a fun attitude! Their show started with a song that's going to be released on Takeshi's digital label "Delicatessen Lab" early June. Later in their set they were joined for a moment by actors from the "Saitama no Rapper 3" movie (a comedy about rappers from countryside), as P.O.P's rappers were the rap consultants for it. I saw the first two which were a lot of fun!
Next up was akiko, accompanied by chorus girl unit Chai-Chii Sisters, as well as piano, wood bass and drums. It was also my first time seeing her on stage although I have a few of her albums, so I was quite excited! She said it she met two of her musicians for the first time that day, yet the sound was perfect. (How pro!) The set started with I think 4 songs from recently-released mini-album "Swingy, Swingy", and then some more such as "Girl Talk" from her album of the same name. Beautiful voices and a truly lovely set!
This was followed by Kaji Hideki who played an acoustic set accompanied by Chabe on percussions, and also a trumpeter who often helps him in studio though it was the first time him supporting on stage. The set had a few songs from his just out album "Blue Heart", such as "B&W Marble Chocolate", and also some favorites such as "amai koibito", "anettai Girl" and more,... to close with his signature song "La Boom ~My Boom Is Me~".
Last on was Nakatsuka Takeshi with his usual bassist (Ishigaki Kentaro (Qypthone)) and saxophonist (Ishikawa Shūnosuke), plus more brass members who are also part of his band backing Nomiya Maki's 30th anniversary shows (report here). The show started with a cover of Hipster Image's "Make Her Mine", and moved on to Takeshi's original songs including "tsumetai jounetsu", "Satisfied", "Sweet Moment", "Kiss & Ride", and more.
It was soon time for the encore, and as it's the custom for this event, all of the guests came back on stage for a session together. The song choice was fantastic too: Flipper's Guitar's hit song "koi to Machinegun" ("Young, Alive, In Love")!! It started with Kaji Hideki on lead vocals, to then let the others sing verses: akiko, Nakatsuka Takeshi, P.O.P ORCHeSTRA with an improvised rap..! That was awesome!
This show sure made me wonder why I didn't check out this series earlier. I'll surely be going again sometime! Thanks for a great night!
June 22 - Nakatsuka Takeshi @ Jicoo The Floating Bar
June 24 - Nakatsuka Takeshi, Shoko (guitar: Kaji Hideki), Saeki Kenzo, etc. @ Roppongi Super Deluxe
June 24 - akiko with Chai-Chii Sisters "Swingy, Swingy release live" @ Yokohama Motion Blue
July 5 - Nakatsuka Takeshi, Runhyan @ Ebisu Batica
July 15 - Nakatsuka Takeshi, The Romantic Six, Balloon88 @ Shibuya Eggman
July 16 - Nakatsuka Takeshi @ Shibuya Seco
July 20 - Kaji Hideki "Blue Heart Tour" @ Shibuya Quattro
P.O.P ORCHeSTRA "Entrance"
akiko "Big Bang"
Kaji Hideki "B&W Marble Chocolate"
Nakatsuka Takeshi "Black Screen"