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Asobi Seksu live @ ICA, London February 22, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Music.
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Asobi Seksu live at the ICA, London

Asobi Seksu live at the ICA, London

Asobi Seksu came to town this week and I jumped at the chance to see them live, especially since it was a live review that introduced me to their music in the first place.

It was a great gig. The band clearly likes playing in London (Yuki Chikudate: “It’s like our home away from home. Just don’t tell New York!”) and the ICA is a nicely intimate venue for a mixed audience of electropop aficionados, Nihonjin and (most likely) otaku. Compliments to the lighting too, which was very appropriate, from the extreme red at the start (see photo above) to the slightly excessive use of strobe lighting for the head-banging tunes at the end.

Asobi’s songs are extremely atmospheric and translate well live, even if some of the songs do border on noise at times ^^; (as Yuki Chikudate herself said during the encore “We couldn’t leave here without making a racket!”).I have to admit, I’m not totally familiar with all of Asobi’s songs yet. Their debut album (Asobi Seksu) was the only one in my music collection until the gig (picked up their new albums, Hush and Acoustic at Olympic Studios, there though). Disappointingly for me, they didn’t play my two favorite tunes, I’m Happy But You Don’t Like Me and Umi De No Jisatsu, and it was that dream pop energy that first attracted me to their band (that and the Japanese connection ^^;). But I was happy to discover more from their archive and the new stuff from Hush, which was only released this week.

Performance-wise, Chikudate, James Hanna and their support are great to watch. They get heavily into the music (particularly the heavy parts!) and are pretty dynamic on stage. And yes, Yuki Chikudate is also ridiculously cute in person. Small, cute Japanese girls are always alluring and you can’t help but coo when she sways about, bundling her hair in her hands. Of course, she also knows how to straddle a stool and knock sixes and sevens out of the drum kit, but some would say that makes her the perfect woman!

Listening to the new albums in more detail, for me, there aren’t any songs as outstanding as my two faves, but the Acoustic album, recorded here in London, is really lovely.  Chikudate’s voice reminds me a lot of Bic Runga at times, and the acoustic melodies really suit her. Thursday and Urusai Tori are probably my picks from that. Here’s Thursday:

From Hush, I do really like Me & Mary:

Overall, Asobi are growing on me more and more with every listen. They’re unlikely to go really mainstream, which is somewhat to my relief, as I look forward to more gigs like the ICA one in the future.

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