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YOKKO - Japan Tour 2019 - Tsutaya O-Nest, Tokyo, 17 December 2019

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Words and photographs by Aki Fujita Taguchi 

Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi

Swiss rock band YOKKO made a second appearance in Japan and I had a great honor to photograph them again at Tsutaya O-Nest in Tokyo on Tuesday night.  The first time they came to Japan was in 2017 for supporting their second album ‘To the Fighters. To the Boxers’, which was released in March 2016.  I was allowed to photograph their two shows at that time.  Their beautiful melody and the great personality of each member really touched my heart and I was looking forward to seeing them again.

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YOKKO was formed in Bern, Switzerland, in 2011.  Their music style is often called as indie, pop, rock, alternative, and so on. However, they named their sound as ‘Atlantic Wave’ by themselves. I think it was a good idea because it is far better than to be categorized by someone else.  And it speaks their specific sound very well.  The words ‘Atlantic Wave’ make me imagine their dynamics and deepness of the sound which encompasses many different styles.  

Should I explain about their band name?  I suppose so. The band name ‘YOKKO’ comes from Japanese name Yoko.  They were planning to play internationally from the first point.  So they researched a name which anyone in the world can pronounce easily and found a Japanese female name Yoko. Wirth adding ‘K’ to it, the band name ended up naming ‘YOKKO’.

After they made a big success with releasing two albums which climbed to top 10 on the Swiss album charts, receiving a Swiss music award, playing over 300 shows in Europe and Japan, they went on a hiatus. Some embarked on a journey, some focused on writing music. Each member took a time to rethink his life and music.  And, they are back!

On this tour, keyboard player Timo joined and supported the band.  On the first note, I realized that they dramatically changed since 2017.  Their earlier work had a much more pop feeling which was good of course, because we felt the simple joy of music in it.  There’s no reason to deny pop-rock music.  However, they must have found their way to go more deeper.  Their sound has changed heavier and darker.  The lighting was also dark and that made my shooting a little bit challenging.  

Actually, their set list was almost filled with two EP’s released this year, ‘Soliva’ and ‘Soliva Ⅱ’.  The atmosphere was totally serious and dark throughout the night.  Many songs have both very calm part and explosive part.  I felt the big dynamics is the most impressive part of their updated sound.  That was well received by the Japanese audience. They often got excited on the explosive part. 

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Beautiful and powerful voice of Adrian was amazing and I was impressed by his emotional stage behavior.  Although he is a lead singer, he stood on the left side on the stage throughout the show.  This might be one of the results of their style changes.  Phillip’s rich guitar tone have been the core of their sound since 2017, and I felt it became more and more significant. 

For the last song in their encore, YOKKO walked down the floor and performed ‘Calling All Gods’ from the first album ‘Seven Seas’ as an acoustic version.  That was such a good mood and especially touching.

In a conversation with singer Adrian after the gig, he said he once deleted the pop elements of their sound, and after the hiatus, he wanted to go much more deeper and darker.  I loved their updated sound which echoed through my head.  

It was very nice to see them in this intimate gig, but I believe they deserve a far larger audience.  That’s why I take pictures of them and write a gig review.  If you haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend to go to their show. These guys are a band to watch out for in the future. Luckily, they will come to Japan next year for the event of 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Nothing about live performance is confirmed yet, but let’s make it happen! 

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates!

Website: http://www.yokko.tv

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yokkolads/

Member: 

Adrian Erni (Vocals, Guitars) / Philipp Treyer (Guitars) / Mats Tröhler (Bass) / Domenic Schüpbach (Drums ) / Timo Loosli (Keyboards, supporting member)

Set list:

1. Fear Of Trembling / 2. Skyfall / 3. Diamonds / 4. Purple / 5. Boxer / 6. Thief / 7. Wondering Heights /8. Echoes / 9. Disclaimer / 10. Elder Flow /11. Forever Ago

Encore: 12. Bloodline / 13. Circle / 14. Calling All Gods

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28 w/ You’ll Melt More!

29 w/You’ll Melt More!

30 w/ You’ll Melt More!

31 w/You’ll Melt More!

32 w/You’ll Melt More!

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This article was published on my publications. Thanks to my kind editors. Check out the links below.

Silence Is The Enemy December 2019 on issuu

Silence Is The Enemy PDF December 2019

Silence Is The Enemy(web)

Shout About It UK

Chasing The Light Art




Opeth - In Cauda Venenum Tour in Japan - Zepp Tokyo, 6 December 2019

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Words and photographs by Aki Fujita Taguchi 

Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi

Swedish progressive metal band Opeth have been on the road touring for showcasing their stunning new album ‘In Cauda Venenum’ and their tour stopped by in Tokyo on Friday.  Before the show, the stage set and a huge band logo on the back screen were darkly lit and looked very atmospheric.  That naturally raised our expectations very high. 

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Opeth was formed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1989.  The band has been through many personnel changes, the lead singer, guitar player and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt is the only founding member.  They have released 13 studio albums and are currently on world tour supporting their latest album ‘In Cauda Venenum’, which was released in September of this year and critically acclaimed. 

Opeth has their root in death metal.  In addition to that, progressive rock, folk, blues, classical and jazz had big influences on their sound.  Especially, the dramatic shift to progressive rock can be found on their recent works. 

The sounds of the new album’s opener ‘Livets Trädgård’ dramatically started that evening.  ‘Svekets prins’ of the same album followed.  Although their latest album ‘In Cauda Venenum’ was released in both English and Swedish language versions, Åkerfeldt seemed to want us to listen Swedish one.  Since I’m not a native English speaker either, that’s understandable.  Indeed, they were a world-renowned band, but I think writing lyrics in Swedish must be natural for them.  Three songs were played from the new album and all sung in Swedish.  He often translated the meaning of Swedish words to English.  And I’ve got to add, he was a masterful storyteller as well as an incredible musician!  He told sarcastic jokes between songs and made us laugh frequently.  He said he wanted to stay more in Japan because he wanted to dig records in various cities.  That was a good surprise for me and formed an interesting contrast to their dark melancholic sound.

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As with the mix of his death growls and clean vocals, the balance of heaviness and calmness is the most attractive and exciting points of their sound.  This can’t be done without each member’s superb technique.  They have lots of rhythm changes in their songs.  Martin Axenrot’s drumming and Martin Mendez’s bass line were so sophisticated that I even didn’t feel it was an odd beat, which made me so comfortable.  Keyboard player Joakim Svalberg was also essential to their specific sound.  Their signature Mellotron sound was so beautiful and captivated the audience.  Lead guitarist Fredrik Åkesson’s play style and tone were a little heavier than those of Åkerfeldt’s.  He sometimes took lead vocals, which was great too. Each member of this band was a maestro and they showed us their great musicianship.

The band played three songs from their new album and one song each from 5th album ‘Blackwater Park’ to 12th album ‘Sorceress’ in their 120 minutes set.  In an encore, they performed their aggressive tune and fan’s favorite ‘Deliverance’ from the same titled album and the audience got so excited.  

Opeth’s performance was simply riveting and the lighting of the show that night was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.  We were treated to a thrilling evening and will never forget this spectacular day.  It was much more an awesome creative art event than a music show.  Fingers crossed that we can see Opeth again in Tokyo!

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For more information on upcoming tour dates, check out the band’s website and Facebook page.

Website: http://www.opeth.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Opeth/

Member: 

Mikael Åkerfeldt (Vocals, Guitars) / Martin Mendez (Bass) / Martin Axenrot (Drums) / Fredrik Åkesson (Guitars) / Joakim Svalberg (Keys)

Set list: 

Tape: Livets trädgård / 1.Svekets prins / 2.The Leper Affinity / 3.Hjärtat vet vad handen gör / 4.Reverie/Harlequin Forest / 5.Nepenthe / 6.Moon Above, Sun Below / 7.Hope Leaves / 8.The Lotus Eater / 9.Allting tar slut

Encore: 10.Sorceress / 11.Deliverance

My photos were used on 2 music webzines. And as always, my photos and review were published on my 3 webzines. Check out the links below.

Ward Live Media (Review: Mirai Kawashima, Pictures: Aki Fujita Taguchi)

Roppongi Rocks (Review: Stefan Nilsson, Pictures: Aki Fujita Taguchi)

Shout About It UK

Chasing The Light Art

Silence Is The Enemy



Melvins at Duo Music Exchange, Tokyo, 19 November 2019

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Words and photographs by Aki Fujita Taguchi 

Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi

The legendary American band Melvins brought a crazy live show to a sold-out crowd at Duo Music Exchange in Tokyo on Tuesday night.  Their frenetic performance completely blew our mind. 

Melvins were formed in Washington in early 1983.  The iconic singer and guitar player Buzz Osborne and the drummer Dale Crover have been constant members since then. Although they sometimes performed as a four piece band with two drummers or two bassists through their long career, they are currently touring as trio with Redd Kross bass player Steven McDonald.  Also, the band brought a LA-based Japanese sound engineer Toshi Kasai, who has been working with them since 2002 and making a massive contribution to their music. 

Melvins’ sound is variously described such as an alternative rock, sludge metal, grunge, noise rock, doom metal and so on.  Throughout their career of over 35 years, they were never afraid of being experimental and creative.  Sometimes it is even kind of eccentric and rich in black humor.  Their signature sound had a great influence especially on grunge bands, such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many others as well as outside the grunge scene, like Tool, Boris, Mike Patton of Faith No More, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Sunn O))), Lamb of God, Isis, etc. 

They started the night with ‘Sesame Street Meat’ off 2014’s ‘Hold It In’ and filled the packed venue with growling sound immediately. We were overwhelmed with their loudness and impressive stage presence. 


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As you may know, King Buzzo has a particular sense of fashion with his signature hairstyle and uniquely embroidered black robe.  He moved so quickly onstage and his grinding riffs were very fast and aggressive. So it was more difficult to capture him during first three songs than I thought.


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Bass player Steven was very cool and his beautiful long hair and a red and black tight-fitting suits made him look as if he was coming from 70’s.  He made classic rock god poses many times.  His bass tone was also aggressive, which made their sound heavier and deeper.  It was obvious that the audience loved his performance.


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On the other hand, the drummer Dale appeared deceptively normal.  But his drumming was insanely powerful and relieved our concerns about him, since the band cancelled their Japan tour in May due to worsening of his hernia.  So we had eagerly awaited this show!

They delivered a full throttle set list containing a variety of material from their whole back catalogue.  The audience was pumped up the most when the band played the fan’s favorites, such as ‘Hooch’, ‘Honey Bucket’, ‘The Bit’ and ‘Night Goat’, which were all from 1993’s legendary album ‘Houdini’.  The crowd got rowdy and a lot of crowd surfing and moshing broke out.

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They wrapped up their 18-song set with Alice Cooper cover ‘Halo of Flies’.  They didn’t play even one song from their latest album ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’ released in 2018.  However, both the band and the audience didn’t seem to care about that.  Surprisingly, Melvins performed 75 minutes in top gear without any breather. No banter, no encore.  What a high-souled and brave way to end the show!  With not slowing down, they showed genuine musicianship to us.  The audience wanted noise and energy more and requested an encore even after the lights were turned on.  But Melvins never came back.  Honestly saying, this kind of show was totally new for me and I absolutely loved it.  I admire the fact that they keep their own way.  I think I understood why so many great musicians have respected Melvins. 

Melvins live performance is especially awesome.  We rarely see true high energy and passion in real life these days.  Their live was the absolutely the BEST of this year for me.  If you haven’t seen them yet, get down to a show and feel their energy and passion!  


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For more information on upcoming tour dates, check out the band’s website and Facebook page.

Website (official): http://www.melvins.com

Website (fansite): http://www.themelvins.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melvinsarmy


Member: 

Buzz Osborne - lead vocals, guitars

Dale Crover - drums, percussion, vocals

Steven Shane McDonald - bass guitar, vocals


Set list: 

 1. Sesame Street Meat 

 2. The Kicking Machine 

 3. Anaconda 

 4. Queen 

 5. It’s Shoved 

 6. Oven 

 7. With Yo’ Heart, Not Yo’ Hands (Malfunkshun cover) 

 8. Billy Fish 

 9. Charlie (Redd Kross cover) 

10. Civilized Worm

11. Hooch

12. Honey Bucket 

13. A Growing Disgust

14. Your Blessened 

15. The Bit

16. With Teeth

17. Night Goat

18. Halo of Flies (Alice Cooper cover)

This article was also published on 3 music webzines. As always, thank you so much my editors for all your hard work.  Check out the links below.

Shout About It UK

Chasing The Light Art

Silence Is The Enemy

Silence Is The Enemy monthly PDF magazine issue 1 








Buckcherry w/ Jared James Nichols at Liquidroom, Tokyo, 15 October 2019

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Words and photographs by Aki Fujita Taguchi 

Proofreading by Yosuke Taguchi

Los Angels based five piece rockers, Buckcherry rolled into Tokyo as part of their tour promoting their new album ‘Warpaint’.  The cool venue Liquidroom was packed with fans and they were ready to start the party.

Getting the evening started, they had the amazing blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols opening for them.  Jared is a Wisconsin-born, Los Angeles-based singer, writer and guitarist, who is well known for his ‘pic-less’ playing style.  I guess most of the audience didn’t know him very well because this was his first visit to Japan.  However his incredible performance made it clear this had been a big loss for us!  He grabbed the audience from the first note.  Bass player Baron Fox and drummer Dennis Holm created the tight and powerful rhythm part for supporting Jared’s play.  In addition to his great playing skills, his stage performance was so dynamic and impressive. He walked into the crowd and interacted with them easily.  He looked like a very friendly Guitar God.

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After the show, I talked to him at the merchandise booth since his performance was so fantastic.  People waited in a long line to talk to him and get his latest album ‘Black Magic’ which was released in January 2018.  I believe this show was the best chance to make out his Blues Power to the appreciative Japanese audience and he got so many new fans on this tour.

By the time Buckcherry appeared on the stage, the house had already got hot with Jared’s great performance.  The atmosphere created by him raised expectations for the headliner.

Buckcherry were formed in California in 1995.  They once split up in 2002 and reunited with new lineup in 2005.  The lead singer Josh Todd is the only founding member of the band.  They have released eight studio albums and are currently on world tour supporting their latest album ‘Warpaint’ which was released in March of this year. I had the great pleasure photographing their Tokyo show. 

The house blacked out and fully tattooed cool rockers took to the stage.  The crowd cheered with an insane excitement.  You may not know, but tattoo is not so quite common in Japan.  Therefore, their style is rare and looks much cooler here. 

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They started with ‘Head Like a Hole’, which is the cover song of Nine Inch Nails and included in their latest record ‘Warpaint’.  ‘Whiskey in the Morning’ from the second album ‘Time bomb’ followed.  They delivered a stunning set, which was filled with their hit songs and new materials, and it was well received by the audience.  They sang along loudly to many hits with a look of delight on their faces.  It was fun to watch the audience truly enjoy the show.  Also, the frontman Josh was really interesting to watch because he jumped around the stage and moved so quickly and smoothly.  I have no idea how he can keep in shape and being cool all the time.

At the latter part of the show, they performed a Kenny Loggins cover ‘Footloose’ and everybody in the venue started dancing.  They continued with ‘Crazy Bitch’ from their third album ‘15’ and it was the final song of the main set.  The crowd got into a frenzy and that moment was definitely the highlight of the night. 

I feel very fortunate to be able to experience Buckcherry’s live.  Their show was truly awesome, full of raw energy and filled with fun party atmosphere.  It allows us to be free from uninspiring reality.  That’s why we never stop to go to rock live shows, isn’t it? 

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For more information on upcoming tour dates, check out the band’s website and Facebook page.

Jared James Nichols (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/Jaredjamesnichols/

Jared James Nichols (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/jjnicholsmusic

Member: Jared James Nichols (Vocal)/ Dennis Holm (Drums) / Baron Fox (Bass)


Buckcherry (Website): http://buckcherry.com

Buckcherry (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/buckcherry/

Member : Josh Todd (Vocal) / Stevie Dacanay (Guitar) / Kelly Lemieux (Bass) / Kevin Roetgen (Guitar) / Sean Winchester (Drums)

Setlist (Buckcherry): 

1 Head Like a Hole (Nine Inch Nails cover)

2 Whiskey in the Morning

3 Ridin’

4 Radio Song

5 Lit Up

6 Somebody Fucked With Me

7 Right Now

8 Everything

9 Too Drunk…

10 Sorry

11 Gluttony

12 The Alarm

13 Footloose (Kenny Loggins cover)

14 Crazy Bitch

Encore:

15 Say Fuck It


This article was also published on 3 music webzines. Thank you so much my editors for all your hard work.  Check out the links below.

Chasing The Light Art : Jared James Nichols

Chasing The Light Art: Buckcherry

Shout About It: Buckcherry w/ Jared James Nichols

Silence Is The Enemy: Buckcherry w/ Jared James Nichols





Silence is The Enemy monthly magazine December 2019

Hi friends!  Silence Is The Enemy has just published cool monthly PDF magazine. You can find my photos and review of Swiss band YOKKO in the last part. 
Click here to download issue #2!  Also, you can read it on issue.com

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