LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE7/31 SUN
Master of Smooth
As the sun disappeared behind the mountains for the last time at Fuji Rock ’22, dark clouds moved in behind the Green Stage like a fog and a disco ball descended from the ceiling. This signaled Tom Misch and his band to appear on stage, ready to guide the crowd on a journey though some of the most polished jazz-funk you’re likely to hear.
A drone of strings rose in crescendo and were soon joined by guitars, bass, keyboards and razor sharp drumming. The one-two punch of “It Runs Through Me” and “Losing My Way” set the tone for the evening, the former featuring a lovely saxophone solo that echoed across the huge clearing.
Tom’s stunning voice competed for attention with his smooth-as-silk guitar playing, and the entire band showed an unmatched harmony and chemistry. Connecting many songs without stopping in between, many of the well known pieces were built upon as live versions including extended jams, breakdowns, and solos by band members.
The lighting designer also deserves some props here for coordinating directly with the mood. What began as a stage washed completely in blue later burst into color and reinforced the rich atmosphere of each and every song. If anyone in the crowd was wondering when the giant disco ball would be put to good use, they only had to wait for the upbeat shuffling “Disco Yes” to get their answer.
Tom’s unmistakeable craft as an incredible guitarist showed through on many of the songs, and were even further amplified when joined by elements of violin and twinkling keyboards, among a huge range of instruments in the band. Cinematic vocal samples and electronic flourishes dressed up the chilled-out track “Movie”.
After previewing a new song in the smooth and groovy “Falling for You”, sweet-sounding vocals flip-flopped into a plucky funk breakdown on “Sunless Sky”. Late in the set, evocative highlights “South of the River” and “Lost in Paris” brought the performance to a climax.
As magic hour darkened into the final night of Fuji Rock for this year, Tom’s effortlessly flowing jazz seemed to hang in the air even after the stage darkened and crowds dispersed.
[Photo: 10 All photo]