LIVE REPORTRED MARQUEE8/20 FRI
Furious Funk Stars Deserving More Fame!
Kan Sano took the stage with large white letters spelling out their band name on a black background. The six white spotlights overhead then exploded into hits of purple. Verses of the first song bore resemblances to Prince’s predilection for odd chord changes. And, the choruses followed suit, but with more intensity and volume. In a country where homogenized and sanitized J-Pop rules the charts supremely, Kan Sano presents itself as a fresh intense act crafting pop songs out of some of the most daring arrangements in the business. Its audience applauded in appreciation.
There is funk here, and even hints of the 70’s giants Kool & the Gang. However, Kan Sano always defaults to the edge of originality. The third track of their set began with a clapping sample and a vocal, and the audience was all too happy to clap along to the bpm. This latest track brought in elements of Daft Punk as well, but with more daring chords than that duo would dare use. And, in the case of Kan Sano, those instruments are always played live; as is evidenced by their live guitarist, and a pianist taking a solo. There is even a nod to the aforementioned Purple One, in a short breakdown that is almost lifted from his record “Get Off”.
Thirteen minutes into their set, Kan Sano started off a song with a jazzy piano solo, with one solid hit of crazy delay, as two spotlights shone down on the keyboardist/vocalist; marking him with a glowing white X. After two minutes of this performance, the rest of the band joined in for a display of funky force that stood just short of peerless. This track appeared to be an instrumental, and as the chorus kicked in – with high wails of saxophone – the stage was lit up in a blinding yellow light, as hundreds of audience members swayed from side to side; like souls being swept up in the ascension. As the instrumental drew to a close, the audience clapped with adoration.
The next song started with atmospheric keyboard chords, and gentle wistful vocals; as if longing for something they could not have. Then the guitarist and bassist entered with synchronized heavy riffing, and the drummer supported the whole; hitting his drums as if spanking them. Hundreds of joyous fans danced from side to side, while observing social distancing; as if possessing their own phone booth discos. After this song, the keyboardist/vocalist admitted that he had been to Fuji Rock many times before as the keyboardist for others, but it was a real honor for Kan Sano to be here. And, his fan base erupted in applause.
The following track followed suit with the funky vibe, but with fantastic ambient riffing that conjured a feeling of butterfly wings filling the entire venue. This composition boasted a fantastic polyrhythmic jam in stead of a “normal” ending, and the audience applauded it happily.
With fifteen minutes left in their set time, Kan Sano produced a complicated jazz/funk jam over a vocal that appeared to be sampled from Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. As that track drew to a close as well, their fans once again applauded heartily. Following that experimentation, the band further demonstrated its musical proficiency by having the drummer and keyboardist swap places, to no noticeable change in their overall funk. They then rapidly switched places again, before pushing the number up to a furious bpm, and ending it with a savage jam.
For their before-last number, Kan Sano brought things back down to Earth with a slow-paced funky track which could very well be a love song on any 80’s funk album. And, the audience appreciated the comfort of calm as much as they adored the furious jams; waving their hands in unison like they just didn’t care. Kan Sano did bring the furiousness back though; by ending that track with another hard-edged jam.
For their very last song, Kan Sano started things off with a mid-tempo funk, as the lead singer pranced the stage, waving his hand in the air, and causing the audience to follow his lead. As blue and purple spotlights cast the stage in stripes, the disco ball overhead spun and scanned the audience with beams of white light. Its members continued to wave their hands in the air like they just didn’t care; but truly out of a deep appreciation and love for this brave band. As the very last chorus broke down and then ended, the audience members clapped over their heads, and then applauded warmly as the band thanked them and said goodnight.
[Photo: 10 All photo]