Thursday, July 22, 2010

Soil and Pimp Sessions @ The Hare & Hounds, Wednesday 21st July 2010

Wow. Now that’s how you put on a show. The hardest working man in show business (Mr James Brown esq) may be dead and buried but, ladies and gentleman, I think we have some contenders for the hardest working MEN in show business. Despite sounding like the sort of ‘services’ offered on those postcards you get on phone booths in London, Soil and Pimp Sessions are actually an ultra cool Japanese ‘Death Jazz’ outfit. Yep, ‘Death Jazz’. I know, a genre for every occasion these days right? Just as you’re scattering some dirt on your loved ones up pops this lot with a brain scrambling rendition of 'Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag'...

There are six of them altogether, at the eye of storm is Shacho (the ‘agitator’) whose job it is to make sure that we whoop and holler, not that we needed much encouragement. This is jazz for speed freaks, ravers, fruitcakes and loons...and all the better for it. It’s jazz Jim but not as we know it. It’s Miles Davies on MDMA, loud, thrashy and...well...‘pimped up’ I guess. Within minutes of starting the set (relentlessly energetic despite the heat) band and audience were one big sweaty mess. “This is much humid” observed Shacho as the show progressed. Any encroaching moistness in the...ahem...nether regions was more than worth it though.

Each member of the band is clearly a star in their own right and happily they were all given the opportunity to do a cheeky little solo, just in case we still weren’t convinced of their collective talent. Tabu (trumpet) in particular spent most of the set leaning out over the audience coaxing a phenomenal sound from what looked like a fairly battered instrument. Midorin (drums) delivered the kind of solo you’d expect from a top flight rock drummer and his duel with Motoharu (sax) was inspired. Never seen a sax do battle with drums before, but it worked. Who haven’t I mentioned? Oh yeah, Josei (keyboards) was slightly out of my field of view (I was jammed up against a speaker) but he played like a man with more than his fair share of arms. Last but by no means least there’s Akita (double bass). It can’t be easy rocking out with an instrument that’s bigger than you but he well and truly bashed it into submission, at one point slapping the strings with such a fury that I feared he might lose a digit or two.

Throughout all this mayhem Shacho acted as ringmaster, whipping the audience into the sort of frenzy that’s normally reserved for lottery winners while the rest of the band exploded like space dust in our ears. After an hour and a half they left the stage to rapturous applause (I’ve seldom heard anything like it in 20 years of gig going) and the chants for an encore went on for a good 5 minutes or so. But they were done. When you’ve given 100% there can’t be anything left can there? Arigatou! Arigatou! Arigatou!

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