Day 12 - Performance at Anti-Knock feat. Akikazu Nakamura
Today was the final full band performance at Anti-Knock in Tokyo featuring the master Akikazu Nakamura on shakuhachi. This was a very rock/punk joint, so we knew we would be playing music very different from the opening acts we had. We had some very energetic openers for us, from more straight forward japanese rock acts to a duo act with a female percussionist and a guitarist with lead vocals. There were about 50 people in attendance, most of which were waiting at the bar for our show to start. We didn't have time to do a soundcheck, but decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant to go over the music. We only had about 45 min. to perform that night, so the music would be really tight because we were used to playing two or three hours. Akikazu Nakamura invited his friend, a well known videographer in the Tokyo area to come and film our set. Originally, he said that he was too busy, but after checking out one of our videos online, he decided that he needed to hear us live!
Once we took the stage, the intensity and focus was there. The crowd was cheering even before we played a tune, while we were just checking the levels. We knew that is was a good energy, and would have a great performance, but the sounds from Akikazu and the band were beyond expectations. I did not have a piano or keyboard that evening, so had to make do with the two synthesizers I brought, which forced me to be more musically creative and minimal. The songs flowed effortlessly, and the transitions from song to song were perfect! The crowd ate it up, and I believe it was unlike anything they could have imagined, after hearing so many noise-rock acts before us, it was a great contrast. Akikazu seemed to really enjoy the music, and was cheering us on from backstage as we were performing our final tune "Spilt Milk" with the rest of the band. After the concert, the audience was asking for an encore, although we didn't have time. There was a very large free-jam after our performance, which I first thought was nosey and chaotic, but after joining seemed to have a very primal vibe to it. I wouldn't call it listenable, but it was a unique experience hearing raw, unfiltered Japanese expression in that way, about 20 musicians switching instruments constantly.
After the performance, I had to return to Electrik Jinja to grab a few cable I had left, when I ran into Nikki Glaspie, the Zildjian Artist, drummer from Beyonce, who had just finished a gig at Billboard with Maceo Parker's band. She gave me some amazing advice about her experience at Berklee, and was a pleasure meeting her!