SXSW Showcase Reviews
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 16, 2012
LagitagidaHeadhunters, Wednesday, March 14
It's rare for a band to garner yowls of approval just for doing its line check, but that's what happened when Tokyo instrumental prog-rock quartet Lagitagida plugged in Wednesday night. They roared to life with a rapid-fire dynamic that crossed Steve Vai-era Zappa with latter-day Japanese noise-rockers like the Boredoms and Melt-Banana. Just when it reached a fever pitch, Lagitagida downshifted into a mellow passage accentuated by Fender Rhodes emulation. Despite its loud, fast tendencies, nothing about its compositions felt out of place. Much of the credit goes to barefoot guitarist Kohhan Ohtake, whose jaw-dropping dexterity was matched only by his impeccable tone. At times, Lagitagida channeled elements of jazz fusion if that genre were set on fire and driven over a cliff. Even though they were playing to a partially full room at a small club, they threw themselves into the performance with total abandon, screaming maniacally over their racket and pointing their instruments toward the heavens as if to protect us from aliens. Mathematical thwackery and directionless noodling never overwhelmed the youthful joy of their rock-god posturing. It was as if you'd stumbled into a music store and all the guys test-driving the instruments just happened to be both technically and viscerally fantastic.