Out and About: Asobi Seksu
  • MONDAY, OCTOBER 03, 2011

  • Posted by: Stefanie Wray

The last time I saw Asobi Seksu was upstairs at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco for an enchanting all acoustic set. Yuki Chikudate sat in a flowing white dress behind a grand piano and serenaded us with the sugary, floating vocals of "Suzanne" (a Hope Sandoval cover) and other songs from Rewolf, while the band played acoustic guitar and a xylophone.

I was in for a very different experience on Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl, when Asobi Seksu returned home from an international tour. The versatile band played a fiery electric set, packed with songs from their new album, Fluorescence, and quite a few from critically acclaimed Citrus. James Hanna look comfortable amidst his army of throbbing effects pedals, easily drowning out the bowling background noise with his Jazzmaster, while Yuki bounced around larger than life (certainly larger than her tiny frame, clad in an adorable blue dress, black leather jacket and suede ankle boots) behind synth keyboards, frequently pounding sleigh bells into the mic. Their light show favored frantic, pulsing black lights during hard peaks and breaks, spearheaded by drummer Larry Gorman; ok, ok, I'm a sucker for psychedelic lights. The hometown crowd was enthusiastic and grateful, dancing, shouting out and calling for more. We clapped along in unison to the head-bopping beat in "Thursday" and Yuki gained ecstatic cheers when she jumped into the crowd on the final song of the main set to sing the last resounding note while dancing with her fans. She further delighted us all by switching places with the drummer at the end of the encore performance and held her own with a primal beat.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Even during their ethereal acoustic set in '09, I remember laughing heartily when she broke the spell and enchanted us in a different way by telling a story about a band shroom trip and their emotional confrontation with the suffering and mortality of a certain little bird. Yes, this sweet, seemingly demure woman with an angelic voice once screamed in tears as she ran over a dying bird to put it out of its misery, while tripping on psychedelic drugs.

White Birds and Loney, Dear opened the show. Both were well received, though Loney, Dear was the clear crowd favorite. Emil Svanängen was a charming presence with his tapping, bare blue socks and humble demeanor. "I'm scared and excited to be here," he said between songs, then joked, "I'm here from Norway or Sweden or something." He insisted on crowd participation, asking us to hum an A-flat and clap to one of the last songs as he sang out passionately above us. He used a loop pedal to maximize his acoustic guitar and snare drum. I was impressed by the absolute devotion of his fans. I watched three young woman sing along with their eyes closed blissfully. One raised her arms triumphantly towards the sky when Emil raised his voice expressively.
All in all, what made Saturday great was the pervasive feeling that the audience truly loved the bands' music, and the bands truly loved their fans for it.

Asobi Seksu: Straight from the Stage Setlist (with albums):

Intro
Coming Up (Fluorescence)
New Years (Citrus)
Meh No Mae (Hush)
My Baby (Fluorescence)
Strawberries (Citrus)
Perfectly Crystal (Fluorescence)
Leave The Drummer Out There (Fluorescence)
Thursday (Citrus)
Trance Out (Fluorescence)
Trails (Fluorescence)
Pink Light (Fluorescence)
Never Understand (Jesus and Mary Chain Cover)
Red Sea (Citrus)

Asobi Seksu Fall Tour Dates:
10/15 - Club Downunder - Tallahasse, FL
10/16 - De Luna Festival - Pensacola, FL
10/17 - Saenger Theatre - Mobile, AL
10/18 - Hi-Tone Cafe - Memphis, TN
10/19 - The Basement - Nashville, TN
10/20 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
10/21 - The Bishop Bar - Bloomington, IN
10/22 - Magic Stick - Detroit, MI *
10/23 - Lees Palace - Toronto, ON *
10/25 - Royale Nightclub - Boston, MA *
10/27 - Irving Plaza - New York, NY *
10/28 - Union Transfer - Philadelphia,PA*
10/29 - Black Cat - Washington DC *
10/30 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC *
11/01 - Masquerade - Atlanta, GA *
11/02 - Firestone Live - Orlando, FL *
11/04 - One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA*
11/06 - Fun Fun Fun Fest - Austin, TX
11/09 - Visualite Theatre - Charlotte, NC
11/10 - The Camel - Richmond, VA
* with BORIS & with White Birds

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