Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon

The Rogue Rock Writer, Half in the Bag, Submersed in the Scene

Archive for the ‘Kagero’ Category

Disc Deconstruction: “Japanese Gypsy Rock” by Kagero

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I woke up wrenching myself from the siren’s call to sleep that was saturday morning’s rain.  Pulled myself together and stepped out the door to work.  More than clouds hung over my mind.  I’m not the same person I am during the spring and summer.  The manic Dr. Jekyll gives way to the depressive Mr. Hyde once the sun begins to take it’s leave earlier.  Seasonal affective disorder is a pain, I suppose.  Imagine my 180 when I got to work and realized that Kagero’s new album was waiting for me.  I’ve been waiting for this to materialize since first hearing them at Lucky 7 Tavern back in November 08.  Most of the music I purchase these days in in the form of mp3’s, so I rarely get a hard copy of an L.P.  Appreciating a bit of craftsmanship and the beautiful art adorning the front cover I made it a point to scour the case from front to back.  Upon doing so I came across the list of thank you’s and shout out’s to people who have helped out the band.  Again, I was overjoyed to see that my name was right there in black and white!  It’s great to know that a band I truly believe in is making gains on their musical career, and I can’t say it’s anything less than flattering that they wanted to share a part of that success with me!  Of course, I immediately ripped the L.P. into my computer and began to listen to Kaz Fujimoto (Guitar, Vocals) Rob Simpson (Bass) and J.W. (Violin).  Instantly, I was having a great day.

Track 1, My Little Bonita starts off about waking up on a rainy day.  It couldn’t have started out more appropriate.  Kagero’s themes center around the trials and tribulations of dealing with the fairer sex, drinking with your friends, and even some more fictional and less autobiographical songs like Track 3, My Daddy is a Thief. It’s the story of a little girl whose father tries to lull her to sleep.  I really can’t begin to do these songs justice by explaining them, though.  Kaz is an amazing storyteller with J.W. and Rob lending support they really bring a sound thats both unique and contagious.  Each track is not just part of a larger whole but also strong enough to stand on it’s own.  My Personal Favorites?

Track 4 Red and Black: A story about the narrator’s slightly morose fashion tastes after falling out with a lover.

Track 7 Grappa: A great song about a close personal friend …, with a beautiful interlude on the violin.

Kagero is playing Lucky 7 Tavern coming up soon with a CD release party.  12/15 is the date.  I highly suggest you mark your calendar, and bring your dancing shoes.  It’s sure to be a night of singing and carrying on as the McMickle Bros. are also booked for that night.  I’m sure I’ll see you there.

Written by rockertycoon

December 7, 2009 at 3:20 am

Posted in Kagero, Uncategorized

Live in JC: Kagero and The One & Nines at Iron Monkey

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Written by rockertycoon

September 23, 2009 at 4:22 am

McMickle Bros. EP Release party a Lucky 7 Tavern

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Some people are blessed with powers far beyond that of mortal men. Take me for instance. I have the uncanny ability to be able to cook, bartend, video, photograph, and write a blog all at the same time. No joke! I really did that Saturday August 22nd at Lucky 7 Tavern in Jersey City. I think Teddy Roosevelt said, “Some men are born great and some men have greatness thrust upon them.” Like I said though, I think he said that. What I mean to say is I know Robin Williams said it when he played him in that museum movie with Ben Stiller. Anyhow I’d say greatness was thrust upon me that very night. The funny thing is I can tell you the exact time and place of my baptism by fire. At about 7:00 The Porchistas entered the bar and kicked off the McMickle Brothers EP Release party. I know it’s not the most glamorous way to realize that you’re a super hero. No lives were saved, no enemies defeated and certainly no radiation was involved. I don’t wear a cape and cowl, opting for a porkpie hat and a vest instead. There are better origin stories. But I’ll say this: My genesis had the coolest soundtrack, by far!

The Porchistas are Deivis “Deivito” Garcia, Alan “Sucia” Smith and Adam “Devil-Hands” Falzer. This merry band of troubadours calls Montclair home. They specialize in a funk fusion of folk and spanish rock. Their original work is fun and easy to dance to. They have a way of making cover songs totally their own. Porchistas’ vocal stylings coupled with their instrumental finesse really makes these cats stand apart from the crowd in the local Scene. I doubt you’ve seen anything quite like this before.

After The Porchistas warmed up the crowd the kitchen took a hit that was like throwing a pack of rabid wolverines into a shark tank. For the next 40 mins my life was chaos. Hamburgers, Pizzas, Chicken Sandwiches, and Hot Wings flew from the kitchen as I rushed between bar and grill. My only saving grace was Kiwi the Child. Vera’s soothing voice and Alex’s guitar stopped me from going positively postal. Sadly during the rush I hadn’t the time to get over and take some pics and vids, but as luck would have it they played last Wednesday at the Groove on Grove. And I still have some exclusive and previously unreleased pics and video. Kiwi the Child is a reggae rock duo. Like The Wailers meets Batman and Robin. Scratch that! More like Dave Hillyard meets the Wonder Twins! The set itself sounded great. I only wish I was able to get a visual as the bar was packed with people enjoying the music.

After I sweated out my time in the kitchen Tip Canary sprung into action! Robbie and Wes are another dou of local rockers. They specialize in storytelling and spoken word with guitar backing. Songs like Doobie Blues pt 1 and Apple City are some of my favourites. Material ranging from getting hassled by John Law or dealing with a girl’s lame excuse to not give you her phone number are just part of the daily grind for these fellas. It’s familiar ground for me as well, in fact we’ve all been there before. Robbie leads the rants with a cynical but optimistic tone, and Wes backs him up with a greek chorus type inquistion. This normally goes off to a tangent from time to time, but it’s all in the sake of comedy and rock. Few can combine these element so well! “Normally you can find Wes and I on a Friday or Saturday night grabbing a slice of Pizza or a Sharma around 3-4am on the Lower East Side.” Robbie tells the crowd, in case anyone’s phone mysteriously stops working and they don’t have a pen and paper, but maybe they still wanna get in touch for something potentially meaningful down the road.

I had just finished working as Kagero took the crowd by storm. Kaz, JW, Rob Simpson, Mr Wynn, and Kate are a Brooklyn Japanese Gypsy Rock Band. Now that’s a music genre! This group is heading the way in the JGR wave that will soon take over the world the way the Beatles headed the British Invasion of the 60’s. Each member has their own unique style. Kaz plays the part of the lead man so well you’d think he took lessons from Chuck Norris’ School of Charisma and Raw Awesomeness. JW makes the violin dance sing and cry like some kind of steampunk puppetmaster. Rob’s bass is solid rock and roll, like his collection of 80’s metal t-shirts. Mr Wynn plays the Chindon drum like a man on fire. Whats a chindon drum? You’ll just have to see for yourself. Newcomer or at least I should say this is the first time I’ve seen her with the band Kate fills out the band on orchardian. Just when I thought this band had achieved perfection they go and add a piece to the puzzle that goes with their sound like Peanut Butter and bananas (If you haven’t tried it, take my advice it’s unconventionally amazing, like this band)! The bar became a dance hall! JW’s solo for Grappa featured Deivis “Deivito” Garcia hanging on JW’s back and crying while he played. It’s impossible to deny this band’s star power. You see them once and you know the words to the songs you can’t help but sing along and dance with the crowd!

So we were here enjoying all this rock for one reason. The McMickle Brothers geared up and began rocking our faces off. Matt and Sam are actual brothers. Matt “the Red Knight” does most of the singing and plays the guitar, Sam lends his voice every so often and beats it out on the drums. They are the White Stripes of the local scene. They keep it simple and head straight for the highway with songs like Finish Me and Dancing for the Smokers have become anthems that their fans know well enough to scream out all the words to. I took a quik break to clean up the kitchen while they began. At the climax of their sixth song I sprung into the door from the front and joined the already excited crowd with some dancing. Deivito and the Porchistas members of Kagero Tip Canary and Kiwi the Child all joined in. We couldn’t help it, there was a steady wave of hooting, hollering and stomping. They played two encores! The crowd couldn’t get enough. James Dower who runs the Live Music Events at Lucky 7 Tavern nearly had a mob on his hands! They couldn’t be sated by just one more song!

After the Live music was over DJ Leonard Smalls (Lucky 7 Tavern’s resident Jockey of Discs) took over. The party continued on through the night and this was about the time I had my first drink. I checked the clock. It was only 11:30 pm. I ordered up a few shots of Jameson, a Vodka Redbull to re-charge myself. I thought if there’s a time and a place to start drinking, spatially and temporally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As the swelling is going done from the hangover that ensued shortly after I woke up this morning, I promise myself to only use my powers for good.

Written by rockertycoon

August 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Tuesday Night with Kagero at Lucky 7 Tavern

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It’s been a long time coming. I’ve seen Brooklyn’s Premier Japanese Gypsy rock band something like 6 times. My first bad shoot in a bout four years was of these fellas back in late Dec. I was trying to figure out a project for myself. That was a few weeks before my first post. But in the last few months I haven’t been able to get out to their shows. So a staple part of the Jersey City band social scene has been missing. Well no longer! It was a beautiful Tuesday night, if not a little muggy as I left home for Lucky 7 Tavern.

The McMickle Bros. started off the show. This was a last minute gug for these boys. This performance included a special treat. John Clifton (keys) was playing with them. One of many great things about the Mcmickle Bros. is they are part of a tightly knit crew that hails from Montclair. Virtually everytime one of these bands plays (Mcmickle Bros., Tip Canary, Bern and the Brights, Deivito! even The Crosstown County All-stars) there’s a great showing of the other bands. It’s refreshing to see that kind of support locally. Robbie from Tip Canary and Deivis of Deivito fame where on hand for the set as well as plenty of fresh faces from the Montclair area!

The McMickle Bros. have appeared in my work several times, if you don’t know about them check out my post on them and on the One and Nines. I’m gonna tell you about how John’s slick work on the keys really added a synergy to songs I now know by heart. Filling in areas that I never would have thought needed any help with some piano sounded interminably entertaining and well thought out. There was some dancing and foot stomping and plenty of singing along for everyone!

Kagero is one of the wildest and most innovative bands I’ve seen and heard locally or otherwise. They blend crafty violin solos with rocking harmonica driven bridges solid backing bass, and break out guitar verses. The bands Front man Kaz, certainly pulls the gypsy look off well. From the scarves, and fedoras right down to the small details, like his steampunk goggles! JW the bands Violinist also pulls out that anachronistic feel generally wearing a suit and keeping it classy. Rob (who was out for the night) is a touch more lax in his garb. Jeans and a rock T shirt will always do the trick no matter what kind of music you play. Last time I saw them Rob was rocking a Heart tee.

All of this is well and good but it doesn’t tell you whats inherently important about this band. What do they sound like? Well it’s like a slow motion riot that builds up over time. Sometimes they start out slow other times they jump right into the rock! They go from folky and shift gears right into dance rock, and then jump train for a little rock ballad. Few songs implement this as well as “Red and Black” it starts off with a little harmonica and Kaz let’s you know about his colour fetish. Then the chorus demands a tango beat the brigde duels the harmonica and Violin, and slows back down for the 2nd verse. It’s fun and it’s something you don’t hear everyday. The crowd was in a full on dance mode by the time they got finished. And we weren’t letting them go anywhere without an encore!

Just as Kagero finished their set. It started to rain. They had apparently pleased Old Kuraokami. They had pleased me at the very least. After the show I sat down and had a few drinks with the gang. Matt Sam Robbie Deivis and several hangers on took a walk after the rain died down and we crawled around to a few other bars. Like the busted tilt-o-whirl we represented, eventually all this fun had to shut-down. There’s no denying that for a Tuesday night it was one crazy time!

Written by rockertycoon

April 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm