A first-hand journal of The Reducers' Japan Tour 2004.

The Reducers at the El 'N Gee Club, New London, CT

The Morning After

Posted by Hugh

I should probably go back to bed, but the hotel's computer is free, so I'll try a quick entry. It's 9:30 (got to bed around 2:30), and the reason I'm not in bed is that I wanted to say goodbye to my good friend Hisashi, who came all the way down from Sendai to see the show last night.

Speaking of friends, it's getting so that I'm starting to recognize a lot of people at the shows who have been at previous shows - and they're all in bands! There's a great sense of camaraderie that makes us all feel pretty comfortable. And in a way, that's how I'd describe this gig. We felt comfortable enough to try out some of our newer songs, and to sneak in a few that had been relegated to the B List.

At 2:00, Kuzu (aka CHI) guided us to the club, which he said was in the country - I think he meant suburbs. We sound-checked, met my friend, Hisashi and one of his English students, Yuki, went out for curry, and got back to the club by 7:00.

For the first part of the night the vibe was somewhat subdued. Rockin' Enocky The One Man Band was quite entertaining - rockabilly and country western songs played on Telecaster, Hi-hat, Trixon Bass Drum and the occasional crash cymbal - songs like Crazy Arms, Let's Go, Let`s Go, Whole Lotta Shakin' among others sung with a Japanese accent, and played with wild abandon - almost like the Japanese answer to the Paul Brockett Show/Furors. The audience was appreciative and there was some back and forth in Japanese that I didn't quite get, but he's obviously a fixture on their scene.

The Refugees were more of a straight ahead punk/power pop band - young kids, with great attitude and some cool songs, plus a very capable girl drummer.

By now the small room, a little smaller than Shelter, was filling up with people and smoke.

(A quick aside about Japanese Rock clubs - consistently great equipment [Marshalls, Roland Jazz Chorus amps, decent drum kits], incredibly efficient use of space, cooperative and knowledgeable sound engineers, great music in between sets [Tonight Eddie Cochran and Captain Beefheart], cool lights, very clean - it's like they've turned this whole thing into a science.)

Right before the gig we met this American expat, named Detroit Jack. He came to the show and videotaped most of it. The only reason he came was because he knew Fifi and Fink, but he didn't know what to expect from us. By the end of the night I believe we had a convert. He said, "You guys were smokin!"

The stage was kind of like the one at the Bank Street Cafe, so we didn't have much space. The set went pretty well for the most part, the audience was quite supportive - polite on the newer numbers, more animated on the older ones. There was one crazy pogo dancer who threatened to clear the room with his aggressive antics - I almost took a microphone in the teeth - but he eventually settled down.

The best part of the night for me was toward the end. I don't remember the order of things exactly, we might have already been into the encores, but the audience started getting wilder and wilder for the pub rock numbers - like Dr. Feelgood. When we played Shake Some Action, it was one massive sing along. Very cool. The two highlights though were Can't Hardly Wait - I didn't know the Replacements were so huge here - frantic pogoing, fists punching air, raucous singing. And we ended the night with Rockaway Beach - again massive singalong, dancing. (We're going to rehearse Ready Steady Go and In the City for the final gig - by Shintaro's request, I believe.)

At the end of the night, the merchandise table was extremely busy. I autographed about seven or eight CDs and records, sat in on a dozen photo ops, and hung out with different groups of fans. God this is so weird! I can't get used to this.

The after party involved going to a restaurant (again sitting on the floor shoeless) being served massive amounts of food and beer, hanging out with a dozen or so fans and band members. It was a great scene that went on from 10:30 to about 12:30 - all part of the rock and roll culture here.

Today we might go see a baseball game in Yokohama.

Posted by Hugh on July 01, 2004 at 09:13 PM EDT


Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Envy Us!

Last night we --- Hisashi [pronounced he-sah-she], Yuki [you-key], and her brother Shuh [shoe] --- found ourselves in the super gorgeous musical world, where we witnessed, Thank God, ROCKS were really ROLLING from hell to breakfast up the path to glory, turning into a huge fiery blast. We couldn’t believe our eyes and ears in trying to get what was actually going on just in front of us. It was literally impressive. It was Hugh, Peter, Steve, Tom, and Richard that were responsible for the charming world, world that would defy any kind of description.

The instant The Reducers began to play THEIR rock’n roll, everyone around them were entirely obsessed by the soul-stirring music. The audience took off flying into the air filled with the mosaic of muggle-made sound and spectrum of light. What a performance! The musical ring quickened sound, but it was not just sound; it was the SOUL OF LIFE, indeed. I tried to figure this out: How come it’s possible? But in vain. I had already fallen prey to the charm fired off by the genius musical clan, so profoundly that I had been deprived of my whole power for rational reasoning.

That would be what only those present there were able to experience. For me, it seems absolutely impossible to delineate each and every detail of what was taking place during the MAGIC SHOW… oops, it’s NOT a magic. It was the True Rock’n Roll. It was REAL. Oh, this uncanny feeling! It looks like my mind has been fully blown by the Reducers. OK. I will have only to be REDUCED to a pure being. I will leave everything to nature.

Thanks to Hugh, Hugh, Peter, Steve, Tom, and Richard for … wa, wai, wait, one more, Jimbo-san as well as other important staff members who has worked really hard, I hear, on this project, as a silent force behind the scenes … for the super exquisite blast that fascinates ALL of us.

Love to all!!

Posted by: Hisashi at July 02, 2004 at 09:57 AM EDT

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