Schroeder-Headz at Shibuya WWW

live report - 08.05.2014 20:01

Schroeder-Headz performs to a sold-out crowd of 500.

Do you know the American comic “Peanuts”? It’s famous as the origins of Snoopy. Schroeder-Headz is a post-jazz project, named for the “Peanuts” character Schroeder, who frequently played a toy piano in the comic strip.

Schroeder-Headz released their second album Synesthesia on February 19th, and started their one-man tour in Nagoya on May 4th, travelling to Osaka on May 5th, then finally on to Tokyo. This live was held at Shibuya WWW, located on Spain-zaka near Shibuya’s Center Gai, a street always crowded by the young. Tickets were sold out, and the venue was packed by about 500 men and women. Many TV cameras were set up around the hall for the live webcast on Niconico.

The SE started, then pianist Shunsuke Watanabe, sporting a smart hat, appeared on the darkened stage, accompanied by bassist Yuu Sudou, drummer Hiroyuki Suzuki and guest percussionist Shinji Asakura. The first song Memento Mori, the opening track of the album Synesthesia, started quietly. Wood bass, cymbals and piano were played superbly and the tune developed smoothly.

During Tokyo Tribal Sacrifice, various urban scenes were projected onto a screen behind the band by VJ Masanori Doi, and Shunsuke stood up, raised his leg, and played the piano all over. Yuu played his bass rhythmically and powerfully, Hiroyuki pounded the drums with thrilling excitement, and Shinji’s percussion created a cacophony of colorful sounds. The audience clapped their hands in time with the beat times, and applauded when the song finished.

In no sign, Shunsuke stood up and ad-libbed quick phrases, urging the audience to clap more, and the live heated up. “Hello, everyone! We are Schroeder-Headz. I’m very impressed so many people came tonight. We’ll play many songs from our new album, and some from our previous ones. Please enjoy this live to the end.” In 3 on 3, various spectrums projected onscreen synchronized with the music, and Shunsuke, Yuu and Hiroyuki all performed with energy and precision.

A seashore scene filmed from a car was projected on the screen, and Sleepin’ Bird featuring vocals began. The piano’s delay effects, impressive rap vocals, and grand melodies all matched well with the images. Clouds and water ran on the screen as the piano solo of Blue Bird commenced. In Petal, pretty piano melodies looped effectively as lights danced like fireflies on the screen. Petals fell and flittered, and stars twinkled in the dark sky. Yuu exchanged his upright wooden bass for an electric one, and Wildthing’s Arm started with rhythmic beats. It had a powerful rhythm and new but good old melodies with original arrangements for the live.

Schroeder-Headz debuted five years ago, and the lineup has remained constant, which makes for steady and harmonious performances onstage. Throughout Boobies-Hi, the band members were introduced one by one as they played solo. Yuu plunked his bass, Hiroyuki beat the drums and Shinji played percussion. Together, they played an exciting session together. Finally, Shunsuke joined in on piano, standing up and swaying his body whilst playing excellently. The audience was excited, swaying their bodies by themselves, clapping their hands, and generally enjoying the live in their own ways.

Colorful polka dots were projected on the screen and the light and popish melody of Far Eastern Tale started. “Shibuya! We have a special guest. Our diva: Asako Toki!” The audience burst into cheers as Asako, wearing a slender striped dress with stripes appeared onstage. Her sweet voice suited the exotic lyrics well, and the venue became wrapped in a bright and heartwarming atmosphere. The six musicians played marvelously as one. Asako confided that Shunsuke made her rewrite the lyrics of this song three times. She spoke as if it was a light joke; they are good friends, really. In the following baby’s star jam, her vocals were arranged with delay effects and manipulated like an instrument, giving the song a mysterious and coquettish mood.

Here, the three original members played a session. In absence of absolutes, they showed off their excellent technique, and played along very well with each other. Shunsuke played a melodica and danced at the center of the stage. For the lively and driving song Follow Me, VJ Masanori projected footage of streaming clouds and evening townscapes. Even when a software error meant Shunsuke’s PC froze, the pure and unmodified notes of his piano still rang out.

“We have played for five years since we released our first album newdays in 2010. Thank you very much for making lives like this possible.” Then he introduced newdays, the title song of their debut album, and the last song on the main set. The audience raised their voices, calling out for more. Repeated beautiful piano melodies streamed on the powerful speedy rhythm. Dripping with sweat, Schroeder-Headz continued to play with great enthusiasm. “Thank you very much today.” The band departed the stage, but the audience’s applause didn’t abate, and the calls for an encore grew steadily louder.

Returning for an encore, the band played LINUS & LUCY from the cover album PIANO a la carte feat. Schroeder-Headz. Shunsuke played the piano as he moved wildly on the bright stage, and the audience clapped their hands in time and danced to the pleasant melodies. The venue was like a festival, and all in attendance seemed to really love the music and enjoy the live. Left alone on stage, Shunsuke concluded the encore and live with a new song composed during this tour, which he played solo on his piano. He said the song was inspired by the season of spring. The song refreshed us with its impressive melodies.

Schroeder-Headz preceded this one-man tour with a successful performance in March at Asia’s biggest jazz festival, the JAVA JAZZ Festival 2014 in Indonesia. They also have a growing international fanbase. Schroeder-Headz will be appearing at the 13th Tokyo Jazz Festival at the Tokyo International Forum in September 2014, where they will perform alongside the likes of jazz master pianist Herbie Hancock and soul legend Chaka Khan.

Set List

01. Memento Mori
02. Tokyo Tribal Sacrifice
03. no sign
04. 3 on 3
05. Sleepin’ Bird
06. Blue Bird
07. Petal
08. Wildthing’s Arm
09. Boobies-Hi
10. Far Eastern Tale
11. baby’s star jam
12. absence of absolutes
13. Follow Me
14. newdays

En2. new song(untitled)
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