button Joe Lally and Zu @ Shibuya O-Nest (18th Jun. '07)

What Went Wrong?

      After an excellent first night turnout in Shibuya, it looked like the twelve-date "Joe Lally and Zu Japan Tour 2007" would be a great success. However, after finishing their show in Yamagata two days later, the two acts cancelled the remainder of their Japanese performances.

      Both cited mistreatment by the tour's promoter as the main factor for calling it quits on their respective web sites. The morning after reaching their decision, Lally was informed that his father had passed away, providing him and Zu all the more reason to simply cut their losses and head home. For Zu, it marked the first time they have pulled out of a tour during their 10-year existence.

      The near capacity crowd packed in O-Nest should be quite appreciative for the opportunity to witness this fantastic pairing. Best know for his work with highly acclaimed American underground pioneers Fugazi, Lally has been keeping busy with solo work and collaborations since the legendary group went on indefinite hiatus in 2003. Formed in 1997, Zu's incessant gigging and chaotic amalgamation of avant-garde jazz and art metal has helped them establish a small, but dedicated international following. The Italian trio were previously here in the fall of 2005 when they supported Fantomas.

      After solid opening slots from homegrown talent Nisennenmondai and Z, Lally took to the stage just before 9:30 p.m. The bassist performed one song alone before being joined by the three gents from Zu - Jacopo Battaglia, Massimo Pupillo, and Luca T Mai. With Lally and Pupillo both handling bass duties, spectators were able to feel the music as well as hear it. The only downside to this was that those near the back had to try to tune out the rattling from the piping and ventilation ducks that were reverabrating from the barrage of heavy bass notes.

      Showcasing material from Lally's debut, 2006's There to Here, Zu perfectly filled the role of slightly reserved sidemen to ensure that they didn't overshadow Lally. Occasionally going off on a bit of noisy freak-out when the mood struck them, the group and Lally created an astounding musical concoction that included bit of folk, blues, art rock, indie rock, and experimental music. Having spent the spring touring together throughout Europe, the makeshift quartet displayed top notch playing and showmanship, easily wowing an audience that needed little convincing that there was a truckload of talent in front of them creating something special.

      Extremely thankful between his socio-political songs, Lally seemed to be quite happy for the opportunity to perform in Japan. I'm sure Zu were just as pleased during their solo set after Lally finished (unfortunately I had to leave before it started). I think it's safe to say that both were not pleased to have to call off the rest of their scheduled performances. Luckily, there's already been talk of the pairing trying to re-schedule another Japanese jaunt in the fall.

report by shawn
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buttonWhat Went Wrong? (07/6/18 @ Shibuya O-Nest) : review by shawn

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