The typically dark and subtle Soda Bar became a brightly-colored display of ’70s psychedelic garb when Kikagaku Moyo took the stage.
Completing the look, each member showcased long, black locks, while both guitarists went sans shoes. With some quick arm and shoulder stretches, drummer, Go Kurosawa prepared for a marathon of drumming before having a pow-wow with his band mates in Japanese. As they donned their respective instruments, they carefully tuned their instruments, adjusted straps and rearranged pedals. It was time to create.
The sounds that came from Kikagaku Moyo (Japanese for geometric patterns) had the audience hypnotized from the first note of the sitar played by Ryu Kurosawa. Telling a story with their songs, each musician’s instrument was a different voice that evoked emotion through unpredictable time changes and minutes long jam sessions that moved and changed like the seasons. Sometimes that voice was a random percussion instrument, or it was the voice of guitarist, Tomo Katsurada singing in Japanese. Daoud Papol, slowly swaying with the music, possessed by his own guitar’s creations, used his bare feet to feel the bass lines that Kotsu Guy’s nimble fingers were strumming out. The music of Kikagaku Moyo isn’t just about their amazing musicianship, but also their extraordinary abilities to communicate through sound. At times having bluesy conversations, they allowed the tones and vibrations to physically move through them. Serving as proof that the purpose of the union of these 5 vibrant souls is to make music together. It is the essence and driving force of this band.
Towards the end of the show, I spoke with a girl who had no idea who Kikagaku Moyo was before that night. Excitedly sharing our experiences it was evident there was an energy being transferred from music to listener. A level of intensity that surged through the crowd even from the beginning of the show. At the end of the first song, someone yelled what we were all thinking, “Play it again!” Unsurprisingly, the audience’s chants to play “One more song! one more song!” at the close of the show rewarded us with yet another jam. The band was openly receptive to the energy of the audience and they gave us beautiful music in return.
Being my first live Kikagaku Moyo experience, words could not describe how grateful I felt to have heard their story in such an intimate setting. Having listened to their music for the first time only a little over a month ago, I can easily chalk this show up as one of my favorites. Musicians like these must be seen and heard up close & personal. I will definitely be seeing Kikagaku Moyo again in this lifetime. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing their music yet, I highly recommend “Streets of Calcutta,” “Dripping Sun,” and “Gatherings.” Or, if you are more of a full album listener like I am, check out their first album Forest of Lost Children and be ready for an adventure!