Vanilla Beans, Nomiya Maki & BIBA

Text and 2nd photo by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound. 1st photo by Kaz Sekiguchi, courtesy of Yoko Fujiwara.

On July 5th was the 4th edition of Vanilla Beans' series of shows with a live band. Every time they share the bill with another band. Last time was Kaji Hideki (report), and this time was Nomiya Maki (ex-Pizzicato Five)! Vanilla Beans just keep strengthening their Shibuya-kei connections. Actually they have been covering Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji" and "Baby Portable Rock" for a while, so this time's bill allowed for a lot of anticipation. As always the show was held at rock venue Shinjuku Loft.

So first on stage was Nomiya Maki & BIBA, that's her unit with guitarist Bravo Komatsu (who previously toured the world with Pizzicato Five) and visual artist UJINO. Ujino had first collaborated with Maki for a show at the Luminato festival in Toronto (Canada) in 2010. At the back was DJ Noboru, Maki's longtime hair & make-up companion.

The show started just past 7 o'clock, opening perfectly with "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji". Maki appeared in a white one-piece dress, the front had a trompe-l'œil print of a pink dress. The sound was loud and on top of it were added live guitar, and Ujino's spacey bleeps coming from his huge shiny phallic green instrument (excuse the description, it's what it is!) that has coachwork making it look like a scooter.

Followed the guitar-driven "Superstar", and then a new cover of Bananarama's "Venus"! Noboru walked to the front for a quick dance with Maki, she acted pushing him and he walked back to his decks smiling, haha.

There was then a costume change, and meanwhile Ujino took the time to present one of his inventions, a bass-driven juice mixer, that he used to make an anti-aging "green smoothie" conceived by Maki, a healthy mix of banana, pineapple, komatsuna, kiwi and water. She came back on stage, and the whole band and a few people from the audience tried her drink and it seemed to be quite good. She said she has it every morning. :)

Maki was now wearing a brown and black manteau, and proceeded to sing "Magic Carpet Ride" in the Cornelius-produced version as heard on her "30" album. She said this song is her favorite. She took off her cape revealing a white dress with a large black ribbon for a belt. Then followed "Sweet Soul Revue", and the set closed with "Twiggy Twiggy". I love Maki's dance on this song!

Set list: Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji / Superstar (World tour ver.) / Venus (Bananarama cover) / Magic Carpet Ride / Sweet Soul Revue / Twiggy Twiggy

After a break, it was now time for Vanilla Beans! Like last time, they were backed by their band of 4 members (guitar, bass, keyboards and drums). For the event they had prepared brand new stage outfits, summery dresses with layered skirts.

The set started with "sakasaka Circus" (from their 1st album), and later included several songs from 2nd album "Vanilla Beans II". I was happy to hear "onegai Doctor", one of my favorites from that album. Funnily the only song from their latest album was "Choco Mint Flavor Time".

The set ended with the latest single "Muscat Slope Love" and its B-side "Jewel Memories".

バニラビーンズ×野宮真貴There was an encore call, and the two came back and invited Nomiya Maki on stage. She wore again a different dress, this time with colorful spangles.

Together they sang "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji"! It was obvious that they were very happy to sing this song they had been covering for a long time together with its original singer. Afterwards they talked a little bit and Maki said that she had trouble deciding of her hairstyle for this show, as she had to stand along with "mushroom" Rena and "outer-winged" Lisa. She went for a "beehive" hairdo!

Set list: sakasaka Circus / onegai, Doctor / Choco Mint Flavor Time / oppai / Baby Portable Rock / koi no Theory / Summer vacation / Muscat Slope Love / Jewel Memories
Encore w/ Nomiya Maki: Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji !

Vanilla Beans had a few happy news to share. Their next single is to be released in October! Also, the next event of this series will be held on September 17, and the invited band is mods group The Collectors, Lisa's favorite band ever! That should make for a great show again.

And, Vanilla Beans will be appearing at the Summer Sonic festival to be held on August 10 and 11. They will apparently play shows both days at the Side-Show Messe, and also MC the Idol Sonic corner. Those who go be sure to check them out!

Larger photo at Flickr

Live schedule:
7/19 - "moshiwake Afternoon" w/ Vanilla Beans, LinQ, hy4_y4h, Babyraids, etc. @ Daikanyama Unit
7/21 - Vanilla Beans, (M)otocompo, Curumi Chronicle, Electric Ribbon @ Shibuya Star Lounge
7/27-28 - "Tokyo Idol Festival 2013" w/ Vanilla Beans & many more @ Zepp Tokyo
8/10-11 - "Summer Sonic 2013 - Side-Show Messe" w/ Vanilla Beans & many more @ Makuhari Messe
9/17 - Vanilla Beans, The Collectors @ Shinjuku Loft

Vanilla Beans "Muscat Slope Love"

Nomiya Maki & BIBA "Sweet Soul Revue"
(Fan recording at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2013)

Tags: NOMIYA Maki, Vanilla Beans (click for more info)

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Not only is Maki doing more P5 songs but she's also now performing with Bravo? When's the P5 reunion??

Posted by Mark on

Yeah!! I'm so happy! Bravo totally rocks! :)

Posted by Patrick on

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