On December 18, Groove Unchant was of passage in Tokyo part of a tour for the release of his first album "Notre Musique" (out last month on Orange Records). Even though it's Unchant's first album, he's been famous for many years as a DJ, mostly active in the Osaka/Kansai area, and also for producing artists such as Dahlia. The Tokyo show was held at 8bit Cafe in Shinjuku, a bar/cafe that allows playing retro game consoles but also hosts various DJ and live events.
First to perform was marino. I had seen her before sing in a DJ type of set, but this time she played a live set with guitar and bass! She said it was her first time to do this kind of show in the Tokyo area. A bit unlike her album, which is quite electro, the set was more jazzy though still danceable. She sang at least a new song, and also some covers, of "L-O-V-E" (Nat King Cole) and "Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now" (from Hairspray musical). Another cover was of "Java Jive" (Manhattan Transfer), which fit just great with her online tea shop that she launched earlier this year. She had brought a selection to sell at the event too (I got some Nirgili and Darjiling tea bags).
Next up was Little Lounge*Little Twinkle, a Tokyo-based band which also released their first album on Orange Records this year. I had been curious about this band for a while, partly because of Ken's gig reports at Japan Live, and this was my first chance to check them out. This band's power is with their soft sound, good melodies, and harmonies of all three members singing, not to mention their really nice and friendly attitude. The girl in the center is in charge of all toy instruments, which adds a unique touch.
Last to play was unchained groove, the unit Groove Unchant put together for this tour, with himself on bass, a guitarist, and two female singers. One of the singers was Suzuki Momoko (ex-Cosa Nostra) who sings the song "Do It Again" on the album, and the other was Nao of a unit called pluschic like Her. The whole set was of vocal songs, including several songs from the album but also "I Love Your Smile" (a cover that appeared on "Island Moon"), and "Rock With You" (Michael Jackson). I was especially happy to hear "Running Away" (Sly and the Family Stone) that appears on the album, really a great song and cover!
The show ended with members of all bands getting back on stage for "Winter Wonderland".
I'll definitely be looking forward to Unchant's next activities, and I hope he'll be back to play again in Tokyo before too long! Meanwhile of course I keep enjoying "Notre Musique".