Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Duration: 1hrs 20min
Ska, Rocksteady, Calypso and Reggae are the music of Tokyo's seven piece band, Cool Wise Man, but given a touch of Japanese influence to make it a unique sound.
The first half of the concert was purely instrumental music with trumpeter, Mitsukaze Hamada, leading the band, encouraging the audience to participate, and calling forward the soloists. The back line of the band, laying down a very solid beat, was Makoto Takeuchi, drums, Tomohito Shinoda, bass, Tomoyuki Ichimura, keyboard, and Makoto Ohwada guitar. The front line, as well as Hamada, was Hiroshi Asami, trombone, Junji Hirade, tenor saxophone, and Tetsu Nishiuchi, alto saxophone. The infectious rhythms, strong harmonies and inventive solos had the audience toe tapping in no time and the energy did not flag for a moment.
Although the trumpet and saxophones did most of the melody work there were great solos from guitar, keyboards, trombone, bass and drums, too, peppered throughout the concert. Every member of the band is a top flight musician and all had a chance to show there skills, as well as working together as a tightly knit ensemble..
About half way through, guest vocalist, Likkle Mai, joined the band, establishing an immediate rapport with the audience. Smiling, joking and dancing, she also sang up a storm, showing why she is such a popular artist in Japan. She was an instant hit the entire audience in the Space and it was clear that the band were glad of her company. Towards the end she left the stage to the band to close the evening, but not for long.
Starting very early in the concert, a few people were finding small areas at the rear and sides of the Space in which to dance. By the last couple of numbers, just about everybody was on their feet, dancing as best they could in whatever little bit of room they had at their tables. After several encores, the band bringing Likkle Mai back to the stage to cheers and whistles from the audience, the applause and cries for even more continued until the house lights were turned on, before a mad rush to the foyer to buy CDs before they all went.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.