For someone with as much history as this ex-Sonic Youth member (who has worked with Wilco among a vast list of others), I had no idea what to expect of his set. The excitement was ramping up in the crowd as slow biting guitar riffs start off stage and continue as he strolls on stage to join his band. From here, it’s a plunge into a melting pot of ideas and genres. The first song is folk meets rock with piano chords roiling in the background as viola playfully flies around the guitar and piano parts. This is all underlined by expressive drumming and sunny double bass. From here, it’s a complete change as distortion growls to life as a metal or hard rock number is thrown at the audience by the band (complete with cowbell).
The heaviness continues with a slice of noise rock as a loop of guitar noise and screeching violin form the background for the drums to go crazy. Then it’s back to folk with an acoustic guitar solo that’s gently joined by other instruments. It’s quite a change with a jazzy pitter-patter of drums, clear piano and soothing bass forming a delicate beautiful section. The second last song is an entirely instrumental song, that’s starts from a quiet beginning with just guitar to a sprawling soundscape that twists away in unexpected directions. Finally, the last is a jazzy pop number with soft vocals with a 80’s pop influence in its song structure and chorus.
The set is an almost unbroken string of songs, close to a stream of consciousness from the band. It’s a delight not only for Jim’s fans but also for sonic omnivores and genre agnostics that have never heard his solo work, like myself. It’s a wide music palette he uses that and with such depth in each genre that it leaves you wishing the set was longer. 15 years ago was his first Fuji, so happy 15th Jim and may there be a 20th anniversary and many more to come.
Text by Matthew Evans, Photo by Yusuke Kitamura
Posted on 2015.7.26 18:09