Logbook Bunka about Japan Nite US Tour 2012, held last March 19th at Public Assembly in Brooklyn, New York. Versión en español.
Photos: Alex Morales & Pedro Suarez.
Official video Gelatine: Under authorization of Gelatine for journalistic purposes.
A year ago when I was newly arrived in America, my first concert was the Japan Nite 2011 (I’ve written these chronicle only in Spanish), which for the first time after suffering an extreme winter with heavy snow storms warmed my soul to hear the tunes of a group of bands of the rising sun country playing in the Big Apple, in the heart of Chinatown. At that time, was unforgettable cultural experience and sharing that music despite the language barriers but as I’ve said, the true universal language is music, especially music from the heart, the real good music. Thus, the friendship that came with Audrey Kimura grew and because of that, Colectivo Bunka rang in the ears of musicians and Asian artists, both in America and in Asia and the rest of the world, very different than our universe Hispanic.
This year was different but the same result. The winter was very unusual happened, very cold but little snow, and this time I was accompanied by my colleague and friend Kouta-San, who was born a partnership and a friendship through his group Hajime No Hikari, which is now stronger evidence. So, I left from the city of the Liberty Bell and then I have arrived in the city of skyscrapers and favorite muse of artists, filmmakers and musicians. After, we find in an important place in Manhattan that, days later would be part of the history of J-music since the first time a Japanese band would enter through the front door to celebrate his two decades of existence with his faithful audience: L’Arc-En-Ciel at Madison Square Garden, which chronicle you can read right now.
Under a warm sun Monday afternoon, we arrived at Williamsburg traditional neighborhood, near the banks of the East River, where the distance viewed from the east side of Manhattan. We began to observe the preparation of a show that would have a striking touch in this version, from the ZZZ’s soundcheck, before Hystoic Vein, who later we received a warm greeting by Lyn, who immediately recognized me, a very enjoyable reunion for the two, remembering some past Japan Nite. Then, as time passed, other bands started coming to the event with his instruments and suitcases full of merchandising to sell. I noticed there was a Japanese flag with the message of thanks for the support and solidarity shown by the tsunami suffered by this country, which the date coincided with the tour of Japan Nite 2011, published in the official poster.
At 8 pm the place was already occupied by many J-music fans, where the local support band Gelatine opened the night this show with songs from his latest album Gaii Gie Ji, where the novelty was not only the presentation of his new song with on-board video (1, 2, 3, 4, Sixteen) but the recent inclusion of Josue Ortiz (La Mer Noir, Ay Balazo!, NoirceuR) as official drummer of the group, being the only Latino in this Asian band. A show that ultimately broke the ice.
Then the turn was for Kao=S, a talented trio that under a musical and artistic ensemble reveal the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. The members have extensive experience: Jack, the shamisen musician leads his own band called Unknown Rooftops and calls himself as shamisenist, for his style of rock with this instrument, Shuji Yamagiri is an acoustic guitarist and composer who has worked on music projects for series of the Japanese television, and the beautiful dancer and singer Kaori Kawabuchi, which caught my attention not only for its handling of traditional dance in sync with katanas but also she is a kendo teacher, a technique to handle such ancient sword, along with her successful stint as voice actress for the Final Fantasy series. A very traditional touch that showed us to our Western eyes the rich and amazing ancient Japanese culture.
Nokies! It was the indie quota of the night. This group consists of university students (Kotaro on bass; Yu on second guitar, drummer Atsuya and vocals and lead guitar, Yusuke) rocked the audience with issues we reflect its strong influences of the genre like The Strokes and The Libertines, with a high level about Japanese music that reminded me of British indie sound, so turn to follow in his footsteps with much detail as they get very far. His show raised the temperature inside the bar for what proved to have what it takes to captivate Western audiences, not I find it strange that they step on this land again with greater impetus to promote his music to the ears of discerning and accommodating good music indie fans.
And closing that Monday night Japanese, Yuka, Youkaru and Lyn, shook our ears with its proposed experimental punk and noise, better known now as ZZZ. It should be noted that they had arrived long before to the United States since early March and the end of this chronicle, still in New York playing in various sites throughout the month of April. Their goal is clear: the attention of the music entrepreneurs to produce a future album, so that the various specialized media spared no praise for these talented artists, who with a history of successful Hystoic Vein, I’m sure they will achieve their mission.
The Japanese night ended before midnight and back to the hotel, fate was on our side, since in the same place we stayed was also the place where all the J-bands and the organizers of the tour were spending the night in New York. Unfortunately, soon after the break (the tour was very intense, one day in a different city) is not able to speak with them, but I emphasize that all the musicians were very happy that a couple of Latinos were listening to the point that broke their formality to laugh, take pictures, learn some Spanish words and dream of touring our Hispanic continent and to know our culture and our people to share experiences from both sides.
No doubt, a version with successful results of this Japan Nite celebrated in a traditionally Anglo venue, whose day remain in our memory as the date on which Brooklyn was Japanese territory.