Photo by Ryota Mori
Optimal for summer chilling, but with twists
“Smooth” is the key word for talking about Suchmos. The young Kanagawa-born six-piece play a tight type of rock-funk falling somewhere between Jamiroquai and ’80s Japanese funk, accented by a lot of record scratching. The band have achieved a surprisingly fast ascent up the Japanese music scene thanks to this easy-breezy style, and it showed in just how crowded the White Stage area was when they walked out in the middle of the hot afternoon. Yet for all the smoothness, it was the moments Suchmos broke from the script and got a bit dirtier that left the deepest impression.
The early stretch of their set leaned mostly on slower jams, highlighted by the night-cruise-worthy “Mint” and “YMM.” This was a chance to get punters into a relaxed mood, fostered by locked-in bass playing and mid-tempo guitar. It was good sounds to zone out to, though lead singer Yosuke Kasai added in the necessary energy, via his bouncy singing and dance moves (which, at times, looked a little strange, but had the crowd going, so he knows what’s up). He also got the crowd waving there hands up in the air, and entertained with between-song banter (“Peace,” he said before flashing the hand gesture meaning the same thing).
But Suchmos have teeth, and for every extended bass solo and slow-burner, they also had a number sporting a shifty rhythm and some fuzzy — and loud — guitar. These moments of energy release hit all the harder after extended stretches of easy-breezy summer vibes, and even the addition of a surprising vocal sample (a woman singing a snippet of a song…or, later on, a slightly pitch-shifted “Come Together”) added intrigue. This was the band at their best, and also the moments where the crowd were at their most lively.