Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: San Jose Taiko x The Bangerz

Is it weird to review a concert I was performing in?  Probably.  But it’s my blog, so I’m going to do it anyways!  Besides, it won’t be a true review as much as a reflection.

Last Saturday was the first collaborative concert between SJT and the Bangerz, a local DJ group with over 15 years of experience to date.  The first time the two groups were together was at the SubZero festival in 2010, where this took place.  The energy was incredible and the impact went well beyond the physical senses.

For this concert, we played for a sold-out crowd of almost 500 but before going on stage none of us were sure what kind of crowd to expect.  Were they SJT fans?  Bangerz fans?  Just curious?  Would they be as hyped-up as the crowd in the streets back in 2010?

The show started at 8pm, after about 12 hours in the theater for us.  The women all had their hair professionally done and a makeup tutorial, while the men...well, the men had more free time!  We had three of The Bangerz who went out first in silhouette to a spirited response.  A good sign, indeed.  When SJT took to the stage and started playing, there might have been another round of applause but there was no way we could have heard it with so much taiko and so much music blasting from the monitors positioned around the stage.  But you could feel the reaction from the audience even without hearing it.  It was powerful.

It was not a concert for those wanting to relax.  It was not a concert for those who think taiko is “loud enough”.  However, it was also not a concert where each group did their own thing or where the show was all about volume and spectacle.  It was a pretty well-rounded, exciting showcase of two really talented groups.

We put in a lot of work to get the right mood for each piece and to make sure the sound was balanced so the taiko didn't get drowned out.  At times we played on top of tracks and at times they accentuated our pieces.  It was a really good match and they were able to accommodate all of our suggestions and changes over the months leading up to the event.

If you're interested, there are some great photos here.

There's something about playing taiko for a crowd that doesn't know what to expect, but blowing an entire audience away is something that doesn't happen all the time.  Having that effect on a home crowd is pretty damned awesome!

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