Saturday, February 17, 2007

Salt Water Taffy & Vasallo Crab 75 At Zher The Zoo

Sometimes after a long day at work I debate with myself about whether I really want to go to a rock show somewhere in Tokyo. Is it worth spending the whole evening in some smoke-filled basement where the music might not even be that good? Often the 'go home' arguments wins out, and I slither back to the comfortable cocoon of my apartment. But other times I decide to go to the club in spite of being tired, and become glad I did because I feel regenerated at the end of evening. That was the case on Thursday night.

The chief draws of the show at the Yoyogi Zher The Zhoo were the bands Vasallo Crab 75 and Salt Water Taffy. The drummer of the latter moved to the former, but the two remain friendly with each other, and funnily enough, I found out later I wrote about a show featuring the two at almost the very beginning of this journal.

Salt Water Taffy is a quartet that consists of a female vocalist/guitarist and drummer, and a guy guitarist and bassist, and play shoegazer-influenced indie rock. The girl singer, dressed in a puffy red skirt with black dots that made her look like a ladybug or a strawberry, sang softly as if her voice was just another instrument in the ensemble rather than the focus of the performance, and it created a good contrast to the heavy sounds of the lead guitar and bass. Many Japanese kids seem to have a gift for coming up with attractive melodies and hooks (the same way they are often master cartoon illustrators), and this was certainly the case with Salt Water Taffy.

Of Vasallo Crab 75 I've written a lot over the years, but to repeat, they are one of the best live bands I've seen in Tokyo. It had been several months since I last saw them and they seemed to have gotten even better.

They combine rock with disco and funk, and the violinist Kawabe even breaks out Bach solos once in a while. Vasallo Crab 75 is a gathering of amazing musicians who seem to genuinely get along, and that comes through to the audience during their gigs. They are due to release a new album around May.


At the start of the evening my body felt stiff, like I was fossilized, but as the night progressed I felt the hardness melt, so that by the end I was light and exuberant, ready to dive into the limitless possibilities of music and art. That feeling is what makes me keep going to shows.

Vasallo Crab 75

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