Monday, October 7, 2013

Kagoshima Music Festa, 2013

Over the weekend of Oct. 5th and 6th, we had the Kagoshima Music Festa again. I'd visited the one last year, and there were a couple bands that I liked. The main closing act, Reminisce, had a female lead jazz singer that was too in love with her own voice, so I wasn't that impressed with them. Funny thing was that a few weeks later, I heard the same band on NHK radio, so they're a national recording act. Anyway, I'd seen the fliers in Tenmonkan, so I knew the event was coming up. It was very lightly attended both days, so I think it was under-promoted this time. I worked most of the day Saturday, and a typhoon was dumping rain on the city on my way to work at 12:30. I passed by Central Park and I could hear the music from a couple blocks away, so the event was still being staged, regardless of the weather. I finished work at 4 PM, and swung back by the park around 4:30. The rain had stopped, but no one was visiting the food stalls and the band that was playing was just finishing their set. I kept walking to the main train station, and along the way, a car with a PA speaker on top was blaring out an ad for the event. Day 1 wrapped up at 8 PM and I was still doing food shopping at the train station, so I missed the remaining bands.

Sunday, the crowds weren't much bigger. In part, it was because we were still getting occasional rain, but also because the wind had shifted and was blowing LOTS of volcano ash into the city. It was a shame, because this time several of the bands were pretty good (most sets were only 20 minutes each, allowing for 2 or 3 songs). The food stalls were going largely ignored, too. Anyway, the event is free; funding is through the sales of event t-shirts. For some reason, the shirt designs are really boring, and I don't want to wear them. One of the sponsors is BTV (Broadcast satellite), and they had a couple cameras set up to record the bands. The cameras were wrapped in plastic to protect them from the ash, more than from the rain.

I stuck around for EVER GReen Blues Band, and a few others. EVER GReen cranked out 3 good, solid songs for their set, including a nice cover of "Messing with the Kid". During the break, the lead singer mentioned that the lead guitarist had just spent 2 weeks in the U.S. doing session work in a recording studio.

The 2-member O.D.O. Brothers (video from the music fest last year). The one on the left plays bongos, the one on the right plays harmonica and acoustic guitar. They have kind of a folk feel, but with a rock edge. They were good.

Balloon animals for the kids.

I'm not sure if the Japanese people know what the word "acoustic" means. The Music Fest had 2 stages in the park, the main stage and the acoustic stage. All the bands at the "acoustic stage" were playing electronic instruments, and the acoustic bands played on the main stage. I think the point was that established acts got to play on the main stage, while amateur groups got their 5 minutes at the side stage. Here, we have Amusia. I couldn't really figure out if this is a family group, an art project or something from a music school. The drummer was dead-on tight, but the base player and keyboardist kind of lost their timing at places. The male singer loved flailing his arms around, while the female vocalist looked like she was in pain when not singing. The kid on the electric guitar looks to be maybe 12 years old, but he played like a pro, although the fuzz level on the guitar was turned up too high and made the music sound too harsh at times.

Back at the main stage - the 3-member Candyman. This was a semi-soft rock group that rocked its opening number then switched to a slower piece that I didn't care for as much. It was getting close to 5 PM at this point and the fest was to wrap up at 5:50. The last 2 acts didn't look that interesting so I started back for home. 3 minutes later, the rain came pouring down again and I didn't have an umbrella. So, I would have ended up leaving at about the same time either way.

But, I mostly had fun while I was there (there were 2 enka singers at the beginning when I arrived. I still don't care for enka.) I liked EVER GReen, and there was one hard rock group at the side stage that I REALLY liked, but they only played one song and I never caught their name. Sigh.

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