Monday, October 15, 2007

Event Review: Fujiya and Miyagi at Mezzanine

After a week that included having to get up at 5AM twice, and driving back and forth to San Jose three times, I was not particularly enthusiastic about going to the Fujiya and Miyagi show at Mezzanine this past Friday, but it was one of those things that the boyfriend really wanted to do (and had already bought tickets for), so I managed to rouse up a little extra energy simply for the sake of domestic tranquility. And a good thing, too, because F&M was one of the absolute best shows I've seen in a long while.

Despite any impression given by their name, Fujiya and Miyagi are three British guys playing electronics, guitar, and bass. During the show I had a hard time putting my finger on exactly who they reminded me of - there were quirky literate lyrics and quirky lead singer gestures that put me in mind of The Talking Heads, but then there were swirly and droney electronic moments that made me think of Joy Division , followed by some just crazy keyboard/guitar/bass rock-outs. I picked up a copy of their latest 12" featuring the tracks Ankle Injuries (remixed by Adam Freeland), and Electro Karoake, and when I played it at home on Sunday I was immediately put in mind of Stereo Lab. So, think literate quirkly lyrics, swirly prog psychedelic electronic noises, and traditional rock band instrumentation and rock outs, and you've got F&M. My favorite tracks of the night were Cassette Single (which I heard released as a KEXP Song of the Day), and their encore closer, Electro Karaoke. They played one new track that really whetted out appetite for the next album.

The crowd was one of the best I've come across in San Francisco in a while - I can't remember the last time I've had some many random, friendly interactions. Many people were obvious fans, singing along with the tracks, and everybody in the front of the house (with the exception of two really stiff gay guys) was dancing along. It was a big enough crowd to make you feel that you were at a real event, but it was still easy to get a drink and find enough space to move your arms and hips.

I left the show feeling more jazzed about hearing a band than I have since I heard Cloud Cult lo many months ago (but the crowd at that show left a bitter taste in my mouth). The boyfriend had such a good time that he even got a little drunk, and for something to have brought him to that point, you know it had to be good.

Opening for F&M were Project Jenny Project Jan, a duo of MC and electronics (both guys, keeping up with the night's theme of confusing band names) straight out of Brooklyn who gave us some great raps and visuals backed by various funky ethno and classic dance beats (I swear one track had the rhythm of the samba). Good fun.

If you have a chance to see Fujiya and Miyagi, definitely check it out. I will be watching with anticipation for their next San Francisco appearance.

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