LIVE REPORTFIELD OF HEAVEN7/29 FRI
SKYE (SHIGERU SUZUKI・RAY OHARA・TATSUO HAYASHI・MASATAKA MATSUTOYA)
SKYE's the Limit!
The supergroup many overseas guests might be unaware of, the band is made up of bassist Ray Ohara (of Sadistic Mika Band), drummer Tatsuo Hayashi (drummer for artists like Haruomi Hosono and Eiichi Ohtaki), guitarist Shigeru Suzuki (founding member of the legendary Happy End) and Masataka Matsutoya (prolific arranger/producer and singer Yuming’s husband). This is about as close to the Japanese Traveling Wilburys as you are likely to find.
Originally formed in 1968, but for lack of outlets to perform they each went their separate musical ways without releasing any of their material. Now they are back together and ready to give us what we missed out on back then.
After a ballsy 5 minute warmup/sound check after ‘officially’ taking to the stage, SKYE broke into a super bluesy Less is More and showed the crowd that if they want you to wait for them to get ready, you can wait. Each member of the band had that casual but amazing skill that makes playing instruments virtuosically look so easy you are tempted to think ‘I can do that’. But you can’t. And neither can I. They can, though.
The guitar soloing especially from mid-set songs like Sagire Chigiregumo and Hana Ichimonmei showed a kind of guitar sensibility and sound that few but the veterans have, an ineffably classic feeling paired with a confident lack of showiness. Perfect guitar work.
The set itself meandered through bluesy rock and bluesy ballads, many led by a wonderfully world weary touch of the keys. Good bar music, hopeful but darkly steeped in enough blues to encase the songs in melancholic amber.
Late in the set they pulled out a nicely up-tempo and slightly country-fried version of the classic Jackson, and showed that they can handle even a difficult cover like that on with ease. With the help, of course, of their killer brass section, which really doesn’t hurt.
When all these elements are brought together you are left with a band that is doing what they very apparently love, playing music with their great friends who happen to all be fantastic and legendary musicians. The only regret is that they didn’t have any of their frequently guest collaborators like Okuda Tamio or Yuming join them. But even without them SKYE brought the rock and roll festival vibes, setting the bar for the rest of the weekend sky high.
[Photo: 10 All photo]