Photo by Natsumi Arakawa
I knew going into this year’s Fuji Rock that The Takosan was one band that I needed to see. First of all, each year there are only a handful of bands which play multiple times, and if they do, there’s a pretty good chance they are damn good.
The Takosan had another set the next day at Cafe de Paris but I knew that I needed to see them at the Naeba Shokudo stage which is part noodle restaurant and part stage. I nearly forgot they were on my schedule until I heard the funky James Brown breakdowns and the frontman’s signature screams.
I quickly learned that the band is named after the tasty 8-tentacled fruit of the sea and not Mexico’s most popular dish. Put in the hands of Yasuhiro Andou the octopus becomes a sexualized means of foreplay. The Takosan are funk through and through and proof of the adage that each community had it’s own James Brown or funk band during the 70’s and 80’s.
Andou does a good job leading the band and entertaining the crowd in a cartoon-type manner. He’s part sushi-chef, wrestler, musician, and all around clown. For example, one can’t resist a good chuckle when the band’s main lyric refrain for a song is “New York, New York” and then “Updown and “Downtown”.
Although I didn’t get all of his jokes because of my non-existent Japanese skills, the audience hung on every word and were quite entertained, and quite a sizable crowd at that encompassing the whole valley which nestles this small, yet much loved musical stage.