Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 21, 2008
Half JapaneseSpiros Amphitheater, Friday, March 14
For the return of the band that would be king, Half Japanese did it up in style. The classic 1980s lineup – brothers Jad and David Fair, guitarist Mark Jickling, saxophonist John Dreyfuss and brother Ricky on drums, and frequent guitarist John Moremen – was augmented by Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan on saxophone for a reunion of every rock nerd's dreams. And there were many in attendance. David Fair, now in his mid-50s, can still dance as awkwardly as ever, and there was no shortage of hits, if Half Japanese ever had what could be called a "hit." The double sax gave "Thing With a Hook" and "I Know How It Feels ... Bad" extra skronk, and it should be noted that Jad Fair's voice has deepened only slightly since the late 1970s, so "Nicole Told Me" and "I'll Change My Style" sounded pretty close to the recorded versions. Watching Jad play a tiny guitar was quite amusing. They closed it out with a cover of Roky Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me" that proved Half Japanese still has few equals.