CUTT and Taka

CUTT @cuttjapan and Taka @TAKA_defspiral at
下北沢 RéG May 11th, 2012
Montage. / CUTT / タカット / (O.A).(ドット)


The two awesome artists which you can watch below here on blog from Youtube clips,
went on stage together Friday May 11 in Shimokitazawa.
First of all I want to really recommend Shimokitazawa if you come to Tokyo for a visit.
It has a great ambience and plenty of relaxed shopping, dining, and music to choose from.
This was my first visit to RéG and first off I want to commend the venue. This venue was one of the few I have been to with proper and GOOD lighting for the stage. It really makes a huge difference when as audience you actually get the light on the people ON the STAGE ,and not blinding you in the face.
Honestly I think this is the first time here in Japan that I felt that Lighting was good and even very good.
Even places like Zepp or other semi big venues, like the next size up, have failed in this regard if you ask me.
Lights this friday were at times plain awesome, and Taka and CUTT looked their very best! Sometimes with subtle hindlight making their presence looks almost magical.. which for the kind of songs they did was absolutely superb!
So if you are a venue owner… all of you that I have been visiting to so far you FAILed.. and can mention a few where I have been .. Otsuka Red Zone, Urawa Narciss, Shinjuku Wild Side, Shinjuku Live Station, Ruido K3, Ruido K4, IIkebukuro Black Hole… oh no let’s stop here…ha ha ha this list would be too long if I wrote down all venues U have bveen to in Japan… you get the idea….
ALL of you go visit 
下北沢 RéG and learn proper lighting on stage!!

 ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃  (̆̃̃ڿڰۣ

Sound was really good too and both Taka’s and CUTT’s voices are world class so again, I was very happy that sound was giving  that deep depth in Taka’s voice and the amazing span that is CUTT’s.
the evening was split in sections with first an Opening Act.. They were quite ok and did a great job, but not my bag and had nothing of their own so to speak. They sounded like so many other bands I have heard, and seen, live here in Tokyo, so even if they did good, it’s hard to remember their individual songs…
According to RéGs web site their name is ドット
RéGs site is here btw
http://www.reg-r2.com/ 

After the O.A. CUTT went on stage and stage personae and charisma from the stage is very contagious. His voice has a lovely span and he is also very skilled in amplitude changing which creates very good dynamics in his songs. Of course he pulled a winner out with Time Machine and both I and the rest of the audience love that song.

Since photography was not allowed… it is so extremely difficult to tell the world in only words about MUSIC. Actually it is almost impossible..
it is sad on sooo many levels that the artists cannot be heard outside that moment for those of us lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. CUTT’s music is not available on the American iTunes or amazon either.
At a quick search tonight I could unfortunately not find it on CDJapan either..
His youtube channel has some BUT it is not the same to see him sit on a chair and play, no matter HOW good it is… a LIVE scene with people and the heightened excitement from the artist while performing is something totally awesome! Especially when it comes to this level of professionals like CUTT and Taka!
I have however posted a few below and will post a few videos above after this blog entry.
CUTT has a blog which is here:
http://cuttblog.blog101.fc2.com/

One thing struck me was that when Taka ‘surprisingly’ (no one can have been totally surprised but yeah)… when he entered the stage during ‘CUTT’s individual part’ of the evening, and the audience went super excited for a moment… it struck me as very similar to a few Atsushi Sakurai (BUCK TICK) guest entrances…

the one where he and Kiyoharu performs “Just one more Kiss” 
http://youtu.be/LUERKXuaUpY

as well as another such entrance Atsushi did with Abingdon Boys School (takanori Nishikawa) for “Dress” here:
http://youtu.be/zephHrTkhfc 

Because in both those cases Kiyoharu and Takanori are both awesome skilled musicians, and artists I also adore and highly respect, and YET when Atsushi enters the stage, there is this sound of awe in the audience and it’s both dramatic as well as an Audiorgasm!
If you haven’t seen these videos before I highly recommend watching them, and if you have you know what feeling I’m talking about! 
Well the funny thing is that later this evening at the “RéG”, CUTT and Taka talked about Atsushi and also did an amazing cover of BUCK TICK, which once again struck me as amazing proof of Taka’s genre span and capacity.
His, with defspiral, cover of hide’s “Pink Spider” on their hide tribute “Reply” is perfect… and well I heard him do it live at Club Citta on hide’s Birthday Party last year… and I think that was one of my absolute favorite LIVE experiences! (then take into account ALL the superlative shows I have been to including X Japan, Sugizo, MUCC, Ra:IN, TMR, Kyoji, BUCK TICK, Kuroyume, Luna Sea etc etc etc…..)
if I only could keep one in my memory, it would be the one when Taka sung Pink Spider at Club Citta!!
ha ha ha but luckily I don’t have to.
Either way these two are definitely my favorite vocalists in Japan today! I mean I do like many others like YuI “Vagu*Project”, or Kuroe (HOLICS), or Kiyoharu, and many others…
CUTT and Taka and well I should add  Atsushi Sakurai to the list as well are GREAT Voices from Japan…

Taka also blogs… http://ameblo.jp/takavoice/
and you can follow him and CUTT on twitter as well and yes it’s funny cause they actually have a big portion of their tweets sending tweets to each other…

So the evening was OA, then CUTT alone, then Taka alone and then last a portion together. Each part was fantastic, but probably the together part was most fun for the audience as the joked and laughed and really had a good time on stage not just as musicians but more like entertaining. My Japanese is very limited so unfortunately I only get bits and pieces of their jokes but it actually didn’t matter much for me this was a very good evening and I laughed a lot too!!

One question I need to ask CUTT-san at some point about this evening was something about ‘Japanese Standard’ … but if their voices are what’s being referred to as Japanese Standard, then Japanese standard is the number one in the world!

I will post another Youtube clip above this one… or two… even if not from this very night… and hopefully in the future… with pressure from the outside (which is people like you dear blog readers), I will be able to actually take videos and photos from LIVEs like these so that we can spread this outside of the Japanese borders…

 

Three venues and some thoughts on culture

Three Venues – Club Sensation, Zher the Zoo and Show Boat

I want however to take a moment and talk about three Venues in Tokyo/ Yokohama,
because a lot of the total experience stems from the layout and environment like
light- and sound engineering.

I think this especially called for after being at “live places” that represent the extreme
ends of the quality scale during this past week end.
Not in size or audience really, oh well to some degree maybe,
but for the general experience.

Friday I was in Yokohama at The Club Sensation

http://sensation-jp.com/
You can read about their history here:
http://sensation-jp.com/about/

This place is by far my favorite small place venue in the greater metropolitan
Tokyo area (Located in Hinodecho, Yokohama within walking distance from Sakuragicho).
I admit it I have not been to more than a teeny tiny faction of places in the greater
Tokyo area….. yet, but regardless it is my favorite spot.
Why?
Because the interior design is awesome,  the staff super nice and Michiaki himself
shows great hospitality.
To make it even better:…. the sound quality is top notch!
I have seen different artists here such as
Ra:IN, Kyoji Yamamoto and CUTT.
All world class performers!!
It has that cozy, intimate feeling, where you want to sit and hang with your friends,
and listen to really good music over a few drinks and bar food.
This is a place I will definitely come back to again and again every time I’m in Japan.

Saturday i was at Zher the Zoo, Yoyogi as you can see below here on the blog.
This is more your typical live house. A dark smokey place where you can’t really see
who is in the room, besides the person next to you.
BUT this is one of my favorites in this particular category. The stage is just the
right size for musicians to move around a little, yet it is that tight feeling that you
want from a venue of this kind.
They have tables spread out, and the bar is close yet not in the middle of where people
need to pass. Lighting on stage has been a tad annoying for me when shooting videos
for example too straight out set, but not really much worse than the majority of the
other live houses in Tokyo.
Tables for artist promotions and merch is in the rear of the floor, meaning people who
are looking and buying or chatting is not blocking any pass ways either.

http://www.ukproject.com/zherthezoo/

Photo above is me with Crazy Cool Joe (Bassist: Dead End)
at Zher the Zoo Saturday Jan 28th, 2012|

Last then, which I haven’t really blogged about yet, is Show Boat

http://showboat.co.jp/

I’m jumping ahead here since I haven’t posted anything about the Sunday Jan 29th
Live with Circuit9 YET….,
but I just wanted to use it as an example here of the other end of Live houses,
a place I did not like.. I mean I like the place, but from an audience point of
view it is horrible.

My negative feelings are probably also due to that such a good band as Circuit9
is doing a “one man show”, should have a place big enough for people to come see them without feeling like you are on a packed Tokyo Subway line during peak hours.
I’m casting no shadow at their performance, which I will write about in the next few days.
They are just worthy a  better place IMO!  Why on earth are they playing here
(edited 2018 Note .. years later I learned a lot about the social structures and dynamics in
Japan and that some places have greater influences and are more prestigious than others.
Tricky part is that you can’t tell from the looks of it or the quality of it. It’s all about who is who
on another dimension than quality)
Now if that is the case it would also be better if such a packed place at least
was designed to handle it.
– The bar is set in the back with very narrow ‘funnels’ to get to it,
– The floor area is smaller than the stage, or so it felt…
– The stage is deep and the sound amplification is on both sides really close and somehow… and yes I am definitely not a sound engineer here and talking from limited experience….
but it felt like I either could listen to them or see them. Somehow it felt like it came out
of synch because of the weird layout of the stage. Like the sound jumped around.

Luckily the drummer, in this case awesome Sakura, was set up a little higher on some
kind of platform, but he was still so far back (together with keyboardist) that they felt
like they were in another room behind the other three (the bassist, vocalist and guitarist).
Then to top it off, since this was a one-man (ワンマン – what they call a gig with only
one band performing, which is rare in Tokyo) , there are no breaks in the set-list (like
you do when there are other bands performing),  so you could only visit the bar before
or after the gig. Which is what everyone did!
With all that many people in the poorly designed space it was like a grid-lock in Manhattan
at peak hour….
Their gig wasn’t that long (if you compare it to a gig when you see 5-6 bands in a row)
and the looooong time waiting in line…and then taking the glass with me to continue to
chat with a nice Japanese fellow… staff came after about 5 minutes and said they
are closing and we had to leave, and no she did not do this nicely, but was rather rude.
Maybe if a favorite band of me came here I would still consider going, but better yet,
I will tell all my favorite bands not to play here ha ha ha
Maybe they even read this blog… who knows? and maybe I have misunderstood
something? ( I had as you could see in the edit above and I will write about that later in
a book I am now writing 2018).

Important addition / edit!

After a few comments I feel it necessary to add a few lines here.
Regarding the last review, I have received a few saddened comments from Japanese readers. This is an interesting culture difference in action here, and I want to make sure
that everyone get this right, and that no one misunderstands what I write.

This review was about the places, more specifically with a bias about physical lay-out
and audio/visual ability and quality of a venue.
I have not yet written any blog about circuit9, but will do so in the next couple of days.
They are skilled performers and as you can see from the little I do mention above,
I liked what they did and Sakura is for example a world class drummer.

Not every venue is really good, and not every venue is the same, saying this out loud,
and especially stating that you do not like something, is something I have noticed
Japanese people rather not read or see or do… it is a cultural difference for sure.

Dear Japanese readers my sincere apologies to you. I’m honest here, when I
tell you that I am sorry . Unfortunately the internet is international, and here all kinds
of behavior and writings occur. If I instead kept quiet, and avoided writing anything negative,
then I would probably hear from American readers that hey why didn’t you tell me you
didn’t like it.
So no matter how I do this people will comment back to me and being unhappy!
For example in the US, my experience is that people rather say:
“I like this, but I don’t like that!”
So if we all try to accept different ways, it is of course the best.

However this is difficult and we often act out of habit!
This means that I have a habit of writing, “I don’t like this!”, instead of keeping quiet.
A Japanese person, on the contrary, has the habit of staying quiet, instead of telling the world, “I don’t like this!”.
This does not mean our feelings really differ, or that some people are better than others,
all it means is that we have different habits and behaviors. Different ways of telling the
world how we feel. Also Westerners tend to have a bias towards verbalizing feelings,
where often Japanese tend to show in actions or body language how they feel.
As long as we understand this and have a forgiving and apologetic attitude,
we will be fine and remain in peace.
Thank you All, and I hope I haven’t hurt anyone with my blog.
It has never been my intention!
If you have comments about this please do not hesitate to send me an email:
thepinkspiderweb@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Cutt Candy

After the LIVE performance CUTT gave everyone candy:
CUTT Candy!
You can see the beautiful purple cellophane laying next to him in the video below when
he sings Time Machine.
Here is a close up ^^

 

 

 

Time Machine – Cutt

CUTT カット  at CLub Sensation in Yokohama part V

with “Time Machine”

a song and a performance that will sure make you smile!

CUTT radiates such a JOY for what he does and it is contagious!!

by the way here’s a  Ustream version of Time Machine

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/unite1

 

Cutt – Video IV

CUTT カット  Club Sensation Jan 27, 2012  IV