Shibusa Shirazu @ Shibuya Club Quattro (17th Apr. '05)
I've learned lots in the 20 months I've lived in Nippon. In my experience, thus far, I've noticed that there isn't much of a grey area. Things are either black or white. You're either right or wrong. You're either a slave to your company or you're disloyal and lazy. You're either Japanese or a foreigner. You're either a normal citizen who doesn't like to attract any kind of attention or you're completely fucking nuts. After witnessing the orchestrated insanity that goes by the name of Shibusa Shirazu it's evident that the brilliant troupe falls into the latter category.
The most remarkable thing about Shibusa Shirazu is how much stuff they manage to cram into every minute of their remarkable shows. The extremely talented musical side of the collective seamlessly weaved together fantastic jazz, rock, blues, funk, pop, enka, and folk sounds. Meanwhile, a pair of lovely "groovedance" girls shook seductively at the front of the stage, butoh dancers struck poses, and a wild-eyed performer clad in a yukata and a fundoshi bounced around, pumping up the audience, and occasionally singing. As if that wasn't enough, an illustrator drew pictures throughout the show that were displayed for all too see. Although this huge cast of off the wall characters all seem to be doing their own thing, Fuwa somehow merges it all together to create a truly unique auditory and visual experience.
Prior to embarking on a two-month tour of Europe the Japanese collective decided to hold one final performance, a going away party if you will, at Club Quattro in Shibuya. Armed with almost two dozen performers, the group treated the capacity crowd to a three hour sample of what will be causing European jaws to drop.
At 7:30 p.m. on the dot, the group's horn section emerged and did a lap around the club. Three butoh dancers soon joined them, skilfully avoiding numerous drinks as they slowly walked across the counters that border the venue's sunken dance floor. Meanwhile the rest of the ensemble got themselves organized on the stage. Daisuke Fuwa, the mastermind behind this calculated madness, took his place in front of the seated members and lead them through the first of a half dozen uplifting numbers.
Along with conducting his chaotic orchestra, Fuwa was also able to continually work the energetic crowd into a frenzy. Keeping a room full of spectators of all ages and nationalities highly entertained and involved for three hours is no small feat. Add to the fact that he's doing so with a band that plays songs that last for 25 minutes or longer and you really begin to appreciate just how awesome Shibusa Shirazu are. Each extended jam session was well paced, creating even more diversity in the already eclectic music. Although all the compositions were drawn out over a long period of time, wonderful numbers such as "P-Chan" and "Naadam" felt like they only lasted a few short seconds.
Before leaving the group broke into a short round of sped-up, circus-like music. The huge cast of smiling, dancing characters showcasing their skills on stage added to the carnival-like environment. The only things missing were a trapeze artist and some elephants. With an always evolving, anything goes stage show like Shibusa Shirazu's though, it wouldn't surprise me to see them added sometime in the future.
The band ended the night with the moving "Theme of Honda Koumuten". Sayaka and Pero were dressed like a couple of casino gals and were wearing strands of Shibusa Shirazu Euro dollars. The two dancers, along with the butoh dancers, liberally tossed the faux money into the crowd as attendees applauded and wildly grabbed at the floating bills. The cheers erupting from the audience grew as the group's playing increased in intensity. Shortly thereafter the entire club was screaming along to the chorus of "la"s, creating a truly inspirational moment in which the ensemble and the crowd came together to share ownership of the wonderful music.
report by shawn and photos by hanasan|
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