Mr. Author Guy, say I’m in Tokyo and I want cool venetian masks, dimmed lighting, jazzy tunes, finger painting, and awesome people but I don’t want to pay more than ¥2001? Say no more, young rascal, Mr. Author Guy’s got ya. Ladies, gents, and other such creatures, I recently had the opportunity to partake in just such an event – The Tokyo Moonlight Masquerade. Hosted by the Spectrum Series (which I urge you to find on Facebook), The Moonlight Masquerade is an event hosted four times a year in Tokyo. It usually features some of the best local artists and musicians. And I’m not talking paint-by-numbers musical acts either. You will hear a great blend of local indie talent blending and fooling around with everything from jazz to blues, to soul, to funk, to rock, and everything in between with their own creative twists. This particular event hosted (in order of appearance) SOU, Xandra Corpora, Audible Bond, and The Roamers. We also had the very talented Ayaka Nakamura do a live painting while the acts were performing.
First things first, we can’t take anything away from the venue. The event was hosted in the Aoyama Moon Romantic club. This mystery little hut of awesome is hidden away in one of the small alleys of central Tokyo. You can find it here. It’s named for the giant moon that usually decorates the stage. It’s just big enough not to be crowded and just small enough to be intimate. The people are warm, the drinks are cold, and the vibes are right.
The night opened up with SOU, a guitar and drum duo. They were a perfect opening act. Their music started out slow and haunting. Melancholy and dissonant guitar melodies slowly drew us in as the atmosphere in the crowd started building up. The drums and the guitar both picked up the pace to make up for some truly spectacular climaxes. You couldn’t ask more from an opening act.
Xandra Corpora graced the stage next. And the only word that comes to mind is “wow”. She was a summer storm of energy. To my ear she did a blend of blues, blue grass, soul, and funk, but all in her own bombastic way. Her voice was absolutely explosive as it dove through melody lines and trills. Just everything about her performance fizzed with energy.
And a little taste of her sound:
Next followed Audible Bond. Whatever Xandra did in energy, Audible Bond did in smooth. Their blend of chilled out jazz, soul, and R&B brought us down and hypnotized us as they went through their numbers. Their energy was great, they pulled the crowd in, and their music lacked for nothing. If you ever have the chance to see them, do. The forty minutes of your life that you’ll never get back will be well worth it.
Here’s a little snippet of their sound:
Last, but certainly not least, The Roamers filled the stage. If they were a drink they’d be an aged, dry whiskey. Classic, tested, and plain good. They rocked the stage with their funk music which would invariably find its way to some pretty dirty rock sections. And it was always the perfect blend of it, too. You’d have the funky bass and drums accompanied by the vocals which tantalizingnly threatened to go out of tune and never did, and just when you got into the loop, they’d darken it with some heavy guitar. It was a marvelous fusion of sound and style.
Here’s a taste of their funk:
And the unsung hero of the night – Ayaka Nakamura. Japan based artist, she soaked up all the evening’s vibes and sounds, stirred them with her imagination, and infused them into her live art. She painted along the musicians all night, and the result was truly spectacular.
So if you are visiting Tokyo or are in the area and have a love for all things artistic, you’ll be well out of your mind not to check this event out. From my experience, the people are there are as varied, awesome, and creative as the music on the stage. Make sure you don’t miss the next one 😉