Monday, June 25, 2007

Perfect Wasted Time W/ 4 Bonjour's Parties & LIF

Wasted Time (what a name!) is a bar in Shibuya, to the right of a forked road whose corner contains, incredibly, both a police box and a soapland. I went there to see 4 Bonjour's Parties and the temporarily-resurrected Lost In Found.

The basement bar was small and crammed with tables, and you had to squeeze between people to get from one end to the other. But I didn't mind. A lot of friends were there, the music was great, and the atmosphere was a happy one.

This was one of the many shows 4 Bonjour's Parties were doing after the release of their first album, Pigments Drift Down To The Brook, an outstanding work—artful, gentle, color-filled post-rock compositions.

4 Bonjour's Parties shows are like watching a sliding-block puzzle being worked out: seven musicians, usually all stuck on a small stage along with a xylophone, synthesizer and a table with a Mac, and everyone except the drummer and bassist plays two or more instruments, so they are constantly sliding from one position to another during songs, going from guitar to xylophone, or flute to mini-accordion, and so on, and each time the pieces move, there's a new sound. They are one of my favorite live bands in Tokyo at the moment.

4 Bonjour's Parties


The indie pop band Lost In Found broke up last year, but have come back to life this month to do a couple of shows. Though they used to play at established clubs like the Que, they were always the most fun at little venues and cafes, where they were relaxed, enjoying themselves, and interacting best with the crowd. I don't mean to belittle them as a band—quite the opposite, I loved the spontaneity and un-fakeness of their Wasted Time gig, and they got me thinking anew about live music.

One thought: is there any need to seek out something more, something bigger than a comfy neighborhood bar gig like this? Or, is this the ideal? Surrounded by friends and acquaintances, listening to good music, even if the players are unknown. People who write about music are often looking for the next big thing, and unearthing the next big thing boosts their ego. But what's the point? If the music is good and you have fun, what more is there to ask for? I sometimes daydream that that's the juke joint view of music.

Lost In Found


I was thinking these thoughts as I talked to Mike, the singer of Lost In Found. I told him this is a nice event, and I hope there would be more like it.

“Yeah, I'd like to do it again and again,” he said.

Then, a few seconds later:

“I'd like to do it once or twice more.”


“You can't re-create something,” Mike said.

That stuck in my mind, because I've felt that too. I become excited about a show because it feels like opening doors to a new world of unimagined music, to new possibilities, but in fact what's behind that perfect gig may have been a set of positive coincidences that will never quite come together in that way again.

That's true enough, and in line with my experiences, but the tough thing with that is, to then continue having elevating musical experiences you have to hope for new, beautiful surprises all the time. A challenge. Maybe it's possible though. My hope is that even when I'm a wobbly old geezer, I'll have shows like the Wasted Time gig to look forward to.

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