New name, new sound for these rookie contenders
Electro-rockers King Gnu took to the Rookie A Go-Go stage fresh off a quick US tour with fellow rookie band CHAI, where they also performed in the SXSW music festival Japan showcase. Previously known as Srv. Vinci until earlier this year, the band was formed in 2015, when all members met and studied together at Tokyo National University of Art and Music. The four piece consists of Daiki Tsuneta (guitar/vocal), Satoru Iguchi (keyboard/vocal), Kazuki Arai (bass), and Seki You (drums/sampler), who seem to be undergoing a self-rebranding and taking a new direction of late.
Their electronically driven sound is heavy and uptempo, peppered with hip-hop breaks in which vocalist Tsuneta sing/raps into a megaphone rig with a distorted voice. Iguchi’s vocals provide a smooth contrast, picking up verses and bridges, often belting out a high falsetto. When they launched into standout “Tokyo Rendezvous” midway though the set, the crowd, which appeared to be mostly fans of the band, were singing along and throwing their hands high in the air. This track perhaps provides the best example of King Gnu’s sound which jumps back and forth between rap and rock over an electronic drum machine track, with King Gnu’s instruments filling in the gaps.
In comparison to previous rosters of Rookie A Go-Go bands, it seems this year has a very strong showing, King Gnu’s talented members among them. While the young band may still getting its footing after their recent name and image change, it will be interesting to see if their new sound can stand up to the competition.