Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kanariya's First Live, At Red Cloth

Three members of the splendid Tokyo band Vasallo Crab 75 have gotten together for a side-project called Kanariya, and they did their first gig at the Red Cloth on Wednesday. They are one of those groups that successful musicians form when they want to try something different from the main act, experiment, go back to the roots, etc. In Kanariya's case, the new thing is old rock: they only did a few songs, but it was a varied set, one tune sounding like primordial 70's punk, another being jazz rock, the finale something that reminded me of Tommy-era Who. I can picture them digging through each others' record collections, jamming those LP-inspired tunes together, and then, deciding, one day—hey, why don't we just make this into a new band?

VC75 are great. Their shows are spectacles that are attracting devoted fans who dance, melodic explosions of funk, pop and occasional electric Bach violin solos. They're playing the O-Crest on March 27 with Pop Chocolat and Chub Du. But I can see how musically-hungry guys would want to try something like Kanariya, to go down a few strange alleys, and share what they've found with a new crowd. At the Red Cloth the audience was sparse. But maybe that's part of the bargain—they're really starting anew, debuting as nobodies, with a sound they hope people will like and find to be fresh. I did.


'Kanariya' sounds like the Japanese word for canary, but the spelling is slightly different from the standard word, which wouldn't have the Y in it. I didn't think to ask them what the name meant, but when I googled it the first entry I found what maybe pointed to an answer. It contained an old Japanese children's tune called 'Kanariya' (an archaic spelling?), and the lyrics sounded like something that could inspire a band name. It goes something like:

The canary that's forgotten its song
Should we abandon it in the hills behind?
No, no, that wouldn't do

The canary that's forgotten its song
Should we bury it in the shrub in the back?
No, no, that wouldn't do

The canary that's forgotten its song
Should we hit it with a whip of willow?
No, no, that would be cruel

The canary that's forgotten its song
Put on an ivory boat, with a silver paddle
And floated in a moonlit sea
Will remember its song.

Maybe? Maybe I'll ask them next time.

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