LIVE REPORTFIELD OF HEAVEN8/20 FRI
Funk at the end of the world
Tempalay, another veteran of the Rookie a Go-Go stage (2015), has seen a lot of attention and had a lot of successes since releasing their debut album five years ago. They have toured both the US and China, have built a strong fanbase and firmly established themselves as a band of note. Their Friday Field of Heaven performance demonstrated how they have earned their accolades.
This part of Naeba at night is magical this year, the lack of vendors really makes it feel like a festival dropped into mother nature’s lap. Tempalay’s intro music choice of opera, overlaid with a robotic voice introducing the members, set the scene nicely: this was going to be a set that blends the organic and the synthetic. Opener Shingo was all disjointed harmonies and digital steel drums, and showed that Aaamyyy on synths and backing vocals is very much a member of the band now.
As the set progressed, the mood of pre-apocalyptic tension grew, like a darker version of Prince’s 1999.
The early set was all high-hat shuffles and popping bass, vocal harmonies running scales and muddy distorted guitar. The melodies were not the kind you would find yourself whistling on a stroll, but had a deep emotional resonance. It is easy to see why Tempalay has gained such a following.
Aa Meiro off their latest album saw the vibes get bouncier, with guitar and keyboard work reminiscent of a circus organ grinder, and the rhythm got funkier. There was still a deliberate sense of doom to it all, but a beautiful doom. Even the MC break, which was just regular band platitudes delivered robotically via a triggered sampler, fit into this theme.
Further on the set saw the band try out twisted reggae done Tempalay style, which works better than you might expect, and also let frontman Ryota Ohara show off his distorted and disjointed guitar chops. It also featured their current bassist’s Bootsy Collins in blender bass (and amazing orange locks).
Crowd favorites like Doushiyou got the crowd moving and a few hands in the air at the as-yet rather subdued festival, which in itself is a bit of a triumph. He repaid the crowd by telling them that they were here playing for the in-person crowd, not the undoubtedly larger YouTube streaming audience. Despite mistakenly referring to the stage as Gypsy Avalon multiple times, the sentiment was well received.
Indeed, it was a show to be seen live, video cameras can’t do justice to a show like this one or a setting like the Field of Heaven stage (not Gypsy Avalon). In a live setting like this their already complicated songs show their true forms, and the result is something impactful.
Another lesson learned – always be on the lookout for errant Aerosmith riffs in the places you expect to find them least.
[Photo: 10 All photo]