Thursday, 29 November 2007

Sendai. September.


* Gagle / Cro-magnon / Kohei @ Jazzy Sports records night, Club Junk Box (15th September 2007)

Club Junk Box is the main live venue in Sendai - the city I live nearest to. Its in the second basement of a massive department store and when you go into its depths you enter the centre of the store machine. Above the ground its a big shiny shop, below its a maze of decrepit corridors lined with cheap dirty staff cafes and lockers. The venue is basically 10 minutes underground. Fairly intense.

Jazzy Sports is a record shop and label based in Shibuya, Tokyo. They push down tempo trip hop, hip hop and funk. This night was part of their 'Rebirth of Cool' Japanese tour showcasing their bright young talents. First up was Kohei who wasn't bright or young or talented! A bald-too-old-to-be-a-rapper-but-too-dumb-to-know-better style vocalist! Not very exciting. He set expectations of what was to follow pretty low.

What followed blew Kohei, me and the rest of the Japanese (mainly students) in the place completly apart. Cro-magnon [myspace]. Their live jazz/funk/house/disco/hip-hop jam band performance makes them legendary in Japan. Apparently they only play 5 or 6 times a year. And it is all about their live show. The continous 60 minute jam saw synths, drums and guitar, sampler and drum machine combine for long interludes of talented improvised funk between spiraling euphoric climaxes. In the encore they dropped the bass line from Daft Punk 'Robot Rock' and the guitar hook from 'A Bit Apachy'. No filth. Squeaky clean. Check the (old school looking) video and how much the crowd feel it.

Gagle headlined the night and were a tight jazzy hip-hop outfit. The two frontmen were brothers and they rapped in Japanese so I only really understood their when they were counting (in English). Nothing on Cro-Magnon though.

Jazzy Sports [myspace] label + record shop (Shibuya, Tokyo).

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