Saturday, October 02, 2004

Vasallo Crab 75 at Yaneura; Texas Panda

Another fine show by Tokyo rock quintet Vasallo Crab 75.

I don’t have any pictures of it, though, because it was too dark to photograph. The band decided to experiment with the stage lighting, restricting the lights used to two spot lights on a disco ball. So it was totally dark on stage except for the lit disco ball and the little circles of reflected light that went around and around.

It was an interesting idea, but I hope it’s a passing thing, like, just for tonight. Next time I’d like to actually see the band members play.

But, at the same time, the lack of lights was an example of how Vasallo is trying novel things to make their music and shows different from other bands. Like having an electric violinist or playing sets without breaking between songs. (There is no new thing under the sun, other bands in the past have tried both, but not many do in Tokyo.)

The best thing about Vasallo is the clarity and beauty of their sound. You can clearly hear the lead and rhythm guitars, the bass and violin, and those distinct parts together create a satisfying, unified sound that can be funky, psychedelic, pop, and other styles. When they play non-stop, moving from one style to another, it feels like drifting down a river watching a changing landscape of musical possibilities.


The other band playing tonight at the Shibuya Yaneura club were all good, but the last band, with the very ordinary and unsurprising name of TEXAS PANDA, left the strongest impression. The quartet featured a female guitarist and famale bassist who stood on the two ends of the stage, and the two also did the singing, in a wonderful, relaxed way.

A long story, but I listened to Texas Panda with members of Tokyo’s great advantage Lucy, one of my favorite bands of all time, standing next to me. They liked Texas Panda a lot, and if my favorite band says that, I must conclude that, yes, as I thought, Texas Panda is a good band.

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