SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., March 18, 2011
Japan NiteElysium, Friday, March 18
When your world comes down, the only thing left to do is dance. Everyone walked into Japan Nite knowing that every performer has seen their home nation crumble. Yet that wasn't going to slow Zukunasisters, whose jazzy soul revue was enough to get Lalo Schifrin shaking. Like Tina Turner throwing down Ike's best licks, scarlet-clad frontwoman Emi ecstatically yelled, "It's showtime!" and blasted the crowd with joy and love. With broken English and a cracked voice, she gave one simple message from Japan: "Many people are hanging in there and helping each other. We don't give up!" Rarely has "What a Wonderful World" been performed with such passion and poignancy. "Give us your power," she begged the audience, but if it was power she wanted, White White Sisters had it by the megawatt. An electroshock blast of metal machine music, the drum and guitar duo scoured the room with their data-driven art rock. It was passion of a different kind with the psychosexual sleaze of Oh Sunshine. The Tokyo duo boosted up to a quartet for a Dead Weather sound, but when Emily Connor writhed and whispered to Mikio Hirama's power chords, it was all sensual intimacy.