In September, I went to a music festival in the heart of Tokyo called TOKYO CALLING. Over 300(!!!) groups performed over the three-day festival, many with no more than a dozen people in the audience. Here are some songs from my favorite performances I saw there.
水流のロック － 日食なつこ
Have you ever found an artist that you listen to one song by them and you think, “Damn, that’s a good song, I wonder if any others are good?” and then you listen to another one and you’re like, “Oh wow, two for two! Let’s see how far this goes!” and the good songs just keep coming? That’s what Nisshoku Natsuko was for me. The first time I listened to her music, I went through all 10 of her most played songs on Spotify and loved all of them. As such, I was elated when I saw her on the schedule for TOKYO CALLING and made it top priority to go and see her.
This song checks all the boxes for me. It’s jazzy, up-beat, full of emotive vocals, and beautiful in its simplicity. Piano, drums, vocals, that’s all Nisshoku Natsuko needs to write a song that slaps. In the live performance, it was even more stripped down. She performed alone, with no backing drums. She had a presence on stage that made everyone in the room aware of just how talented she was, warming up in the style of a classical pianist and fielding requests for her sound-check song. Where many bands use the volume of a live show to cover for inadequacy, the simplicity of her setup didn’t allow for that. Raw piano and vocals, nothing to cover up any misplays or voice cracks. It was a spectacular performance. I purchased a shirt after the show was over, one of the two that I bought during the festival.