Thursday, June 22, 2006

Strawberry TV Show Meets Advantage Lucy

Last week was a good week for advantage Lucy fans—they did two shows within a few days of each other. Of course, I went to both.

The more interesting gig was the one on Saturday at the Shimokitazawa Que, featuring two groups from Seoul: Strawberry TV Show and Mongoose. Strawberry TV Show was especially wonderful. They are a seven-musician group that plays jazzy R&B and consists of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and three dancing chorus girls, who, along with the woman on keyboards, wore matching, bright, polka-dotted summer dresses. The chorus trio was the chief attraction: they were pretty, looked like they were having fun, and their singing voices melted together pleasantly as if they were meant for each other, like strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

But after the show I had drinks with Strawberry TV Show and the other bands and found out that maybe the Que show wasn’t as fun for them as they made it look. In fact, it was probably nerve-racking. The problem was a familiar one in Tokyo: club audiences are often pretty subdued, not cheering much and clapping only quietly. To the Korean musicians, the low-key response must have felt like they weren’t going over well. I knew from going to shows in Seoul that an unknown band from abroad gets a much louder, more welcoming response from the audience. But in truth, that was just the Tokyo crowd being their usual selves, and the Japanese musicians tried to tell them that but I’m not sure if they were believed.

When I chatted with Strawberry TV Show they asked me what I thought of their performance, and when I replied “Cute!”, I gathered from their expressions that wasn’t the best answer. Maybe I should have said something about the music, which I did like enough I was ready to buy their albums and was disappointed to hear that the first CD wasn’t coming out until August at the earliest. Still, I stand by my view that this is a cute band—one of the cutest I’ve ever seen.

Strawberry TV Show


During advantage Lucy’s set at the Que, in front of me in the audience was a girl who kept on explaining to two guys she was with that Lucy was exceptionally good that night, which I found annoying, because I’ve been to most of their shows recently and I know that they’ve been playing at a consistently high level and the Que show was certainly no fluke. In their laid-back way, they’ve been intense these last few months. Guitarist Ishizaka-san said they are aiming to release an EP in August, and it does feel like a new work is around the corner (it’s certainly not years away).

At both the Que show and the O-Nest gig earlier in the week, they played a new song called “Late Show”, a lovely, quiet tune that starts out sounding bossa nova (they say they are working on lots of quiet songs now). At the Que show one of the Strawberry TV Show girls joined them in singing “Nanaramia”, a relatively obscure song from the album Station, a song that’s like a simple kid who doesn’t stand out in the schoolyard of advantage Lucy’s collected works, but it’s still a beautiful tune that shone in a different way when sung as a Korean-Japanese duet.


For the record, Vasallo Crab 75 and Condor 44 also played at the O-Nest show, and Gomes The Hitman and Mongoose performed too at the Que. They were all great, good enough I can write a post longer than this about each if I had the time.

advantage Lucy with Strawberry TV Show girls

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