Shugo Tokumaru – OzAsia Festival 2011


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed Saturday 10th September 2011

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: Ended
Duration: 1hrs 15min

The music of Tokyo's Shugo Tokumaru is not easy to label. Light pop might cover it, but the eclectic instrumentation sets it apart. His music has been described as Indie Folk, Indie Pop and Psych Pop. He began on piano, then took up guitar when he joined the band, Gellers, with some of his childhood friends. He then extended his skills into playing many other instruments as well as composing, using multi-track recording to produce albums where he sings and plays every instrument.

For this performance he played guitar, ukulele and sang, with a backing band consisting of Yumiko Hishinuma, accordion, melodica, glockenspiel and vocals, Shingo Shimmachi, toy piano, toy percussion, Andes25 and vocals, Yoshinari Kishida, drums, percussion, melodica and vocals, Kanjki Ito, toy piano, drums and melodica, and Kei Tanaka, bass and ukulele.

There are many hints at diverse influences, not only with nods to The Beatles and other bands from the British pop explosion of the 1960s, but also including references to Irish traditional dance music, bluegrass, and even a strong resemblance in one song to a section of the Scottish song, Marie's Wedding. At times there is even a fairground feel due, to the combination of instruments with the dominant sound of the amplified piano accordion. There is, of course, a definite influence of traditional and modern Japanese music in his songs.

Most of the music was his own, although with no announcements and being sung in Japanese it was impossible to know what they were about. This did not seem to matter, though. A few giggles were generated by his switching to ukulele, with accompaniment from toy piano, accordion and melodica, on a tongue in cheek rendition of Video Killed the Radio Star. With so much unusual instrumentation available the performance was very varied and his appeal was obvious by the enormous applause, calls for encores, and the crowd at the CD sales desk after the show. Watch for his return.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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