Long live rock, I need it every night

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pussyfooting Around with Fujiya & Miyagi

[Photos By: Mary Rehak]

Fujiya & Miyagi
Friday, February 27th
Emo's, Austin, TX

Fujiya & Miyagi plays with confidence. They have insanely catchy tunes and they know it. You're going to dance to them and you're going to like it. They didn't waste time chatting with the crowd, trying to be humorous, or talking about how happy they were to be in Austin. In fact, outside of a few thank yous they didn't say a word. They didn't need to.

They kicked off the night with "Sore Thumb" from their new album, Lightbulbs. The tune has a nice build up and a funky groove. They followed that with "Ankle Injuries" which repeats their band name over and over. The simplistic, whispered, and perfectly enunciated lyrics acted like a fifth instrument. They were like riffs set on a loop, repeating over and over. The strong start got the full attention of the crowd. From there the band worked their hypnotic magic. Even songs that are a bit flat on the new record, specifically "Uh", had a real punch in concert. "Pickpocket" was another one that benefited from the live setting. It included a finger snapping solo. We've seen a lot of things here at Rock Club but that was a first.

While I enjoyed "Pussyfooting", their most radio friendly tune from Lightbulbs, the highlight was a sped up version of "Knickerbocker". [Side Note: I can't believe they're talking about "Knickerbocker glory". Have they seen the Knicks lately? Fujiya & Miyagi don't know jack about the NBA.] The song got progressively faster and faster. The goofy lyrics and pace of the song reminded me of that chicken dance that's always done at Oktoberfests. Sure, it's ridiculous to dance like that in public but it's also a lot of fun. Considering Fujiya & Miyagi's love of Krautrock and Kraftwerk, they'd do well playing German beer fests.

They closed the night with a song I couldn't place but it had a mix of melody and dissonance that was quite impressive. They kept the crowd dancing while half the band ripped it up. Well done. I couldn't have asked for a much better performance. It was fun yet professional, bouncy, and left the customer satisfied and wanting more. Basically, Fujiya & Miyagi are the musical equivalent of a high class call girl.

Openers Project Jenny, Project Jan consist of Jeremy Haines (singer/rapper/entertainer who reminded me of Joel McHale from The Soup) and Sammy Rubin who mans the keyboards and samples. Together they incorporate a myriad of genres into their music. They mix in everything from hip-hop to reggae to Bollywood dance grooves. A veritable kitchen sink of beats and rhythms.

I had high expectations for PJPJ. I expected them to whip the crowd into a dancing frenzy. Unfortunately, there was more dancing onstage than there was on the floor. The guys are fun loving and likable but they were a little "jokey". I wasn't sure if they were they were being serious, satirical (like The Lonely Island), or a little of both. However, I have to give them credit for finishing the night on a high note. They joined Fujiya & Miyagi's encore to perform their excellent song, "Pins And Needles":

Project Jenny, Project Jan: Pins And Needles (Featuring Fujiya & Miyagi)


Jimbromski said...

if you do a snapping solo you should smash your hands afterward, like Pete Townshend smashing his guitar. Or set them on fire like Hendrix.

I heard a PJPJ song yesterday on WOXY, it wasn't bad. Thought they were a girl group based on the name.

Jumbo Slice said...

One thing I didn't mention in the review but I figured I'd bring it here: the set list. It was pretty clear F&M plays the same set list each night. Usually this kind of annoys me. Makes me think the band isn't trying enough or is just mailing it in. Not the case on Friday. They know the optimal song order to get the crowd moving so they're sticking with it. Why mess with a good thing?

I was looking forward to this show but it was better than I expected.