button Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra
@ Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall (13th Jun. '07)

Spirit of the Fisherman's Band

Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra
      One has to admit to a certain amount of inner eye rolling when press sheets or PR executives begin to extol the virtues of an artist's public performance. When big statements such as: "You have GOT to see this band live!" or "Their live show is a life changing event; you won't be the same afterwards!" are heard, it's difficult to avoid the faint whiff of sensationalism drifting in the air. Having said that, you would be hard pressed not to find even the most jaded critic to go untouched by the live spectacle that is the Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra.

Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra       This group of ultra-talented musicians work as a complete unit, yet each player is given enough independence to stretch the audio canvas to their personal desires and manages to throw in all sorts of colorful mayhem. From the ragged, bluesy rhythms, freaked out psyche guitar, and the quaint folksy melodiesノit all somehow seems to make sense. There is jazz in there somewhere as well; but it's merely used as a root in order to support this grand tree of many radiant fruits. On record, it's certainly powerful; but in the live setting, Shibusa Shirazu are massive!
      The strong crowd gathered at the C.C. Lemon Hall on June 13th consisted mostly of fans of the group; and the attendees were on their feet, joyously applauding as the band came marching down the aisle blasting out a stirring intro piece that set a tone of celebration. As each member gradually walked up to the stage and took their place, the melody grew stronger, more intense with each passing verse. Until finally, the 30 plus group were seated in their place and their grand guru, Daisuke Fuwa walked into the spotlight to tremendous applause. He takes a swift nod and then his hands are up in the air, pointing out to band members, signaling tempo shifts, aligning spots for improvisation. He seems less like a conductor and more like an architect who is in charge of shaping this big sonic mass into form. His body seems almost in constant motion along with the flow of the music that is being created and he rarely stands still. His fingers sometimes miming along with air guitar and as he scratches his head, one can easily imagine the gears inside his mind working to determine the next piece to shift in this ever-evolving sonic puzzle.

Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra       Within minutes of the bands initial salvo, the mood slows down and the orchestra settles into smoky, slow, velvety number that showcases some fine solos from saxophone player Katayama Hiroaki. His deep, husky tones draw the audience into a mysterious web, and the audience is instantly seduced. Katayama is a seasoned player, and his contributions to this collective are immeasurable. By this time in tonight's show, Shibusa Shirazu's fantastic dancers have entered the picture. Atop twin platforms on each side of the stage, the Butoh dancers are submerged in their slow motion spiral that marries the wild rhythms with taunt, sinewy flow. The showgirl dancers (for lack of a better word) are ablaze in white dresses and their presence invokes a mystery unfolding with each balanced move. Carefully placed to the left of the large stage, sits two women adorned with matching flowers in their hair. Throughout tonight's performance, their arms will be in constant motion; moving with a carefully choreographed set of "hand dances." Add to the list of visual treats a slide show, multiple banners, a giant silver fish-like creature, and an inflatable pair of giant hands and you've got yourself one insanely over the top theatrical runaround that borders on ridiculousノbut in a good way!

      Tonight's special guest was none other than "no wave" champion of New York, James Chance. He bolstered on to the stage to a standing ovation as the orchestra kicked into his classic "Sax Machine." James not only took rounds on vocals, tenor sax, and the piano; but also handled conductor duties as Daisuke contently stood aside and filmed the event with a handheld video camera. Sadly, this was actually the portion of the show that fell a little flat. The Shibusa Shirazu members seemed uncomfortable under Chance's direction and he himself seemed a bit flustered and unsure what to do next. Although his performance was spirited, his addition to tonight's proceedings never seemed to fully take flight; even though his energy level was appreciated.
Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra       After blazing through a selected batch of songs (including "The Street With No Name" and "Almost Black") Chance took his bow and danced his way off stage and Daisuke once again took the reins and led his group into sonic territory that seemed to skyrocket into the upper stratosphere well beyond the glitz and sweat of the C.C. Lemon Hall. A vast majority of the audience was up out of their seat; clapping and dancing along as the sonic din began to rise and exit the stage down the aisleノthe melodies lasting long in the mind of the listeners in the open June air.

      Yes, there are fleeting moments of unrest during tonight's Shibusa Shirazu show, but they are well disguised in the glorious carnival of sight, sound, and joy. And when everything comes into place, the kind of groove that Shibusa Shirazu is able to concoct isn't simply magical, it's fucking mystical. See the show for yourself next time, and you'll find yourself morphing into the guy at the bar who says, "You've just GOT to see them live."
Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra

report by jay and photos by nachi
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buttonmag files : Shibusa Shirazu

buttonSpirit of the Fisherman's Band (07/06/13 @ Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall) : review by jay, photos by nachi
buttonphoto report (07/02/25 @ Henoko Beach, Okinawa) : photos by hanasan
buttonphoto report (06/01/14 @ Shibuya O East) : photos by hanasan
buttonphoto report (05/10/23 @ Ueno Suijo Ongakudo) : photos by hanasan
buttonphoto report (05/10/16 @ Yokohama Thums Up) : photos by hanasan
buttonphoto report (05/10/08 @ Saitama Geijutsu Gekijo) : photos by nachi
buttonThe Sweet Sounds of Destruction (05/04/17 @ Shibuya Quattro) : review by jinki, photos by hanasan
buttonOrganized Chaos (05/04/17 @ Shibuya Quattro) : review by shawn, photos by hanasan
buttonA Global-A-Go-Go Tune-Up In Effervescence For A Slightly Slimmed Down 26-Piece Shibusa Shirazu (05/04/13 @ Kichijoji Star Pine's Cafe) : review by michael, photos by hanasan
button湧き出すエネルギー (05/04/01 @ Shinjuku Pit Inn) : review by joe, photos by hanasan
buttonはたして戦後に生きているのか? (05/03/12 @ Ueno Suijo Ongaku Do) : review and photos by hanasan

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buttonSpirit of the Fisherman's Band : Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra @ Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall (13th Jun. '07)
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