The TenGooz LIVE (FringeTIX)
The TenGooz @ The Wheatsheaf Hotel
9:30pm, Sat 24 Mar 2007
Me, I love the (perceived) quirkiness that pervades the chunks of Japanese culture that reach us here. From anime to video games to j-pop to jap hardcore, there’s something about the open honesty of its presentation that charms me. So, when I read this in the Fringe Guide…
Come and celebrate LIFE with the Tengooz! This Japanese band will play dozens of original songs in a variety of styles! Something for everyone. Funk,Irish,Jazz,Latin, etc…… We’ve come a LONG way to share our energy with you, so come and party with us!
…I knew The TenGooz were on my shortlist.
After a quick and befuddled transit (I’ve lived in North Adelaide for nearly eight years now, and learnt something new about the bastard roads this evening), I arrived at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton right on the tick of 9:30pm. The Wheatsheaf is a nice feeling pub; a tidy eating area, and the front bar seems to effortlessly host a number of segments for different groups to gather. Sozzled lushes at the bar, the keenly-catching-up women in one corner, laid-back seen-it-all twenty-somethings in another corner, pool sharks (oddly) at the pool table. I grab a pint of pale and head out the back to the neat beer garden / band area.
When The TenGooz initially take to the stage, there’s only a small crowd of a dozen or so waiting for them – a little disappointing, perhaps, but instead of the expected curious anticipation, there was a tangible feeling of love in the air. The first of their two sets is beautifully paced – starting with gentle, balladic numbers, and building the tempo up over the course of a dozen or so songs to some pacey, punchy goodness; the buildup drew additional punters in from the front bar. After two songs, they’ve completely won me over; the rhythm section (Jon Hicks on the drums, and Nodoka Hasegawa god-like on the bass) are tighter than a duck’s chuff (check out Face to Face), and Kenya Sagara’s trombone is stunning. But then I’m a sucker for the trombone, it’s right up there with the cello :)
At the end of the first set, I wind up talking (well, communicating through giant gesture and grinning broken English) to Kenya, and he says “You looked very HAPPY.” And I was; I was grinning from ear to ear. I bought the band a round, and had a secret little thrill when I saw guitarist Fumihiko Tanaka take a swig from my bottle of pale onstage, rotate the bottle to check the label, and smile with a little half-nod. Ah, bliss :)
The second set was aimed squarely at the ever-larger, ever-more-tipsy crowd; wall-to-wall bouncy numbers perfect for dancing. Out came the ska numbers, the Irish influences, the only cover for the night (sung by Jon the drummer, as front-man Avi refused), and there was much rejoicing on the dance floor. They left the trombone case out at the front of the stage for donations (in lieu of tickets) and (even though I’d bought a ticket from FringeTIX) after the inevitable CD purchase and reserving funds for a potential taxi ride home, I gladly emptied my wallet into the case, and came away wishing I could have put in more. Because these guys were brilliant – full of love and heart and great tunes and fantastic playing.
In short – this was a joyous night, a joyous performance. The TenGooz are bloody fantastic, and I only wish there were more people at their shows to see them. Still, their music is available to download (legitimately) online – though I strongly suggest buying their CDs (contact them through their official site), or at least donate via the music page above.
I managed to see The TenGooz again at The Elephant (in Fringe Alley) on Thursday the 29th. A much shorter set, the boys were joined by the guitarist from The Brown Hornet (sorry, can’t remember his name) and Jack Tinapple from Neo on flute. Again, a fantastic show, marred only by the fact that the crowd from the previous cock-rock band deserted en masse, leaving The TenGooz playing to a sparse audience – who were, nonetheless, greatly entertained. Heartbreaking end, though.
I really wish I had more money to throw into the trombone case :}
(At the Wheatsheaf, we were treated to a simple Japanese lesson – namely, “arigato”. A peek at this page leads me to believe that the correct phrase might be something along the lines of “arigato gozaimasu” – thankyou for the continuing music :)