Hanaregumi starts off solo with just acoustic guitar and vocals, singing softly about love and nostalgia. The full band joins next song, with flights of flute, pattering of drums, thumping double bass and layers of harmony from the keyboard. The acoustic guitar is switched out to electric for the song ‘Taiyan’ and as a result, the pace picks up a little. The trumpet chimes in with a burbling solo, which is singalong to by the crowd. It’s obvious the main focus is on Hanaregumi himself and his voice, which is a soothing tenor that is capable of sweetly lulling the crowd. However, the songs than suffer from a slight lack of depth and variation. This problem starts to disappear with later songs but earlier songs really suffered from this problem.
With an excellent MC section about his new hair and how afro and new hats don’t go together well, there’s good interaction with crowd. The keyboard switches between piano and 70’s vintage twirls of sound with the double bass bopping along. The last few songs are dancing numbers, with the introduction of honky tonky trombone and a hint of reggae skank from the keyboard and guitar. The start of this passage of songs is a full on funk assault with an amazing passage of slapped warped bass, swirling keyboard and proud trumpet.
The second last song is full on calypso music with keyboards mimicking steel drums, shifting and swaying drum rhythms plus short sharp trumpet solos and a ripping guitar solo as the last section dissolves into an instrumental frenzy and a short singalong. the last song continues the singalong but is toned down instrumentally with the main part done by acoustic guitar. It’s a pleasant set by the veteran and with the amount of passionate cheering and impromptu chorus singalongs, it’s apparent that fans got exactly what they wanted (and just maybe a few more converts as well!).
Text by Matthew Evans
Posted on 2015.7.26 09:32