Miss Maki Nomiya sings "Shibuya-kei Standards" 2014

Text and photos by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound

On November 7 was a show by Nomiya Maki (ex-Pizzicato Five) at Billboard Live Tokyo. With the title "Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards", it was the 2nd of the series that began the previous year, an effort in passing the word on great Shibuya-kei and inspirational songs so that they don't end up forgotten. Last year's show was to be released on CD a bit later, so this doubled as a release party. There were two representations in Tokyo on the same day, and I went to the later one starting from 21:30.

The weekend before the same show was also first held at Billboard in Osaka, so I spent the week avoiding any spoilers online. Still, as soon as I reached my seat I couldn't resist opening the booklet on the table, and before I realized I already knew half of the set list, oops! :) That just made me yet more excited to hear some of the songs listed there.

Maki's band was formed of a pianist/keyboardist (on Fender Rhodes and piano), the bandmaster on keyboards (Hammond) and percussions, a bassist and a drummer. Maki appeared in an elegant off-white dress, and started the show with Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji (The night is still young)", the obvious choice especially that the first set started at 7pm.

The show then went on to its main theme, covers of Shibuya-kei hits and related songs. First was a cover of Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends' "Love So Fine", perfect to get things started, followed by Celia Paul's "Dreaming Day". Then came a cover of The Scooters' "Oh Honey", a song about a disappointed girl whose boyfriend didn't show up for a promised date.

Special guest Kaji Hideki was introduced, and he arrived on stage wearing a borders T-shirt (the essence of Shibuya-kei fashion) and his signature short pants. Together they sang "amefuri toshi", a duet of the two from Kaji's latest album "Ice Cream Man", followed by covers of Flipper's Guitar's "Summer Beauty 1990" (a song originally sung in duet by Oyamada Keigo and early P5 vocalist Sasaki Mamiko) and Swing Out Sister's "Breakout"!

Then came more wonderful covers, including Towa Tei's "Amai Seikatsu (La Douce Vie)" (song that originally featured Maki), and recent drama theme song "T jiro" (a special episode featured a live scene with a duet of Maki and Crazy Ken Band's Yokoyama Ken).

While the whole show was awesome, the most incredible was the encore which consisted of a P5 medley! Maki showed up in this extraordinary outfit and sang "Nata di marzo", later undressing to this one. The other songs were "What Now Our Love" (from "Couples"!), "Groovy is my name", "I hear a symphony" and "It's a beautiful day". Then Kaji-kun joined back for "Message song". The medley selection did seem a bit more "maniac" than the one from last year's (as heard on the album), with many songs that she probably hadn't sung in a while. This was great!

After the show I bought Maki's live album (a few days before release) that came with a signed card, and even got to line-up to shake her hand and say hi. :) A wonderful evening!

Set list:
Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji (The Night Is Still Young) (Pizzicato Five) / Love So Fine (Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends) / Dreaming Day (Celia Paul) / Oh Honey (The Scooters) / amefuri toshi (Kaji Hideki) / Summer Beauty 1990 (Flipper's Guitar) / Breakout (Swing Out Sister) / Amai Seikatsu (La Douce Vie) (Towa Tei) / koi no Corolla (O meu Corolla) (Claudia) / T jiro (Koizumi Kyōko & Nakai Kiichi) / Glass no ringo (Matsuda Seiko)

Pizzicato Five medley Nata di marzo / What Now Our Love / Groovy is my name / I hear a symphony / It's a beautiful day / Message Song

"Summer Beauty 1990"

Find out more about: KAJI Hideki, NOMIYA Maki

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