Monday, January 24, 2011

Asobi Seksu live @ Smesco Center, Jakarta (26-11-2010)

Yes I realise this post is about two months late, making it the worst piece of "journalism" ever. I don't care.

I remember hearing Asobi Seksu for the first time back in 2007 or 2008. I was instantly hooked by their pop sensibilities. I still think of them as a pop band. They have shoegaze/dream pop qualities in their music for sure, but instead of trying to replicate the early 90's British sounds like so many newer shoegaze bands do, they simply put those elements to compliment their music perfectly. It's hard not to be reminded of Kevin Shields' guitar work by songs like Sooner or Pink Cloud Tracing Paper. At the same time, i find it hard to compare their sound as a whole to other band(s). They definitely have their own thing going on.

One of Asobi's unique qualities is the singer Yuki's high-pitched vocals, mixed with tons of reverb to give them that lush effect. Some of their lyrics are written in English and some in Japanese. The English songs are sung with a hint of Japanese accent, giving them a certain charm on its own. Guitarist James Hanna also steps up to vocal duties on a few songs, and he does them fairly well. Ultimately, it's Yuki's vocals that makes Asobi Seksu stand out.

The show was held on Friday night, so i rushed straight from the office after work to the venue in fear of getting caught by the deadly Friday traffic. It turns out i got there way too early, like by a few hours. The door should've been opened by 8 o'clock, but the show didn't start until like 9.30. Bollocks.

The show was held in Smesco Centre, a massive convention hall with an equally massive stage up front. The entire floor was covered in carpet and the ceiling was at least 20-30 feet up high. It's certainly more than an adequate venue for a music show. Unfortunately, this is also why the show "fails" that night. The venue was simply way too big for a middle-sized band like Asobi Seksu. They were less than 300 people in the room. It wasn't even one-quarter filled. If only the promoter would've been more careful in choosing a more proper venue (read : smaller), they they could've cut down the overpriced ticket, which i'm sure would've lead to more people coming out.

Sajama Cut was the only local opening band that night. I used to listen to them a few years ago so i'm somewhat familiar with their music. I think they are better-suited to smaller gigs with more intimate crowd. It seemed that they've re-arranged their old songs to give it a more arena-rock feel in order to make them work in bigger stage. I personally don't think it works, and their performance leaves a lot to be desired. Sajama Cut shouldn't have been the opening band for the show.

After much anticipation, Asobi Seksu finally hit the stage and opened their set with Strawberries. I have to say they sounded way noisier and fuller than they are on records, which is always a good thing. The vocals were on point, and all the instruments cut through the mix quite nicely. They seemed to have done their homework for this tour by filling most of their set with songs off of "Citrus", arguably their best album to date and not coincidentally, fans favorite. They also played a few songs off of their self-titled, their latest offering "Hush" and even two new songs which will be on their new album, out in 2011. Their cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain Never Understand was the final icing on the cake, putting their performance that night as one of my favorites of 2010.

Of course i have videos

No comments:

Post a Comment