LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE8/20 FRI
Veterans Back in the Field
In their 25 years active, Quruli has consistently shown themselves to be a band that is willing to keep pushing forward creatively, holding their own amongst a younger generation of Japanese alt-rockers whose scene they themselves played a large part in creating. Their legendary album Team Rock turns 20 years old this year, and it is rightfully considered a seminal work in Japanese rock. To say that it inspired a generation of young musicians in Japan is an understatement. They now have a discography 20 albums deep, but they keep proving themselves worthy of the throne upon which they sit.
They kicked off their Green Stage set on Friday just as the clouds started rolling in, but the overcast skies fit the mood of slow burn How to Go perfectly. Frontman Kishida Shigeru showed that he still knows his way around an axe after all these years, confident and emotional without needing to be flashy.
Things really started to heat up with Tokyo OP and it’s flurry of harmonized guitars. It was as if Brian May were sitting in with Iron Butterfly, extended organ breaks and all. Again, they are not a band to take the most predictable path. This was especially as they followed this up with the mellow, city-at-night pop of Shanghai Gani. Rapper may not be the first title that comes to mind when one thinks of Shigeru, but he gets by just fine with a flow that is all his own. And I’d be lying if I said the track wasn’t a real banger, with a truly memorable mid-song key change.
But now, the set took us to the classics that made the band. A classic from earlier in their career, Bara No Hana is a sweet and delicate song, draped in the most heartfelt keyboard refrain a tune could ask for. This was the song that pulled the crowd in, one tailor-made for nostalgia and perfect for the short break in the clouds that accompanied it, the warm summer sun returning for a brief interlude.
A light mountain rain started sprinkling mid-way through their set, just as Quruli was breaking into their bluesy Camel, and the audience got to experience the same breadth of musical styles the band had to offer as the forms of weather Mother Nature had for them.
The band wrapped up their hour long set with a casual ‘matta ne’ for the crowd, and the beautiful and melancholic LAST SONG. The rain again stopped with the gentle marching drums ushering us off to our next experience in life, and hopefully the band’s next musical experiment. Until next time indeed.
In the end, Quruli’s set covered a lot of ground, and a lot of different genres. A testament to the band’s skill is the way that at all times the set felt like it was theirs, and that the songs were all Quruli songs. They never felt like they were simply acting through genres, they were doing it their own way. Shigeru’s charisma and vocal and songwriting talents are a big part of this, but the only other remaining founding member Sato Masashi’s bass and backing vocals helped glue the sound together and give it heft. They have seen many support members come and go over the years, but they have made Quruli stay Quruli through all the changes.
[Photo: 9 All photo]