WagakkiBand Hits the Des Moines Embassy Like a Rain of Shuriken
Japanese fusion superstars to rock Downtown ATX this Friday night
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
4:35PM, Thu. Mar. 17, 2016
Help me out here, people: Is there another band at SXSW that fuses traditional Japanese instruments – shamisen, shakuhachi, koto, and other things that originated in the 16th or even 8th century or earlier – with classic rock-and-roll style and Vocaloid pop novelty?
If there is such a group, I don’t know about them yet; and anyway I doubt they’d display the ninja-level music skills and senses-galvanizing showmanship of WagakkiBand, the reigning superstars who are playing a single SouthBy gig on Friday at midnight.
At, of all places, the pop-up Des Moines Embassy at Sixth & Red River.
(Yes, well: Those crafty Iowans are merely providing the venue, while WagakkiBand is repped by the more wide-ranging powerhouse called Live Nation.)
Takes a hell of a lot to get this contrary old journo to attend live music, even in the so-called Live Music Capitol of the World. The WagakkiBand is, I’m suggesting, a hell of a lot. Here, just watch this one video and see if you’re not … oh, how do regular folks put it? … see if you’re not totally fucking blown away:
See what I mean?
Yet another reason why SXSW badges and/or wristbands and/or press passes can be a good true thing. And so who wouldn’t also jump at the chance to interview these guys for The Austin Chronicle?
Well, I jumped, of course.
But then realized that an even better interviewer would be someone who’s more heavily into J-pop in general. Someone who has been to, and performed in, Japan a few times – because she’s a regular globetrotter of a multitalented artist herself. So I chatted at occasional Chronicle freelancer (and cover model) Kaci Beeler, and set things up with the Wagakki PR folks … and now, hell yes, we have a transcript of Beeler's convo with the musicians.
Note: Maybe that's for when you’re not busy watching all the WagakkiBand videos you can find, right?