Let’s do some math: five very “hyper” musicians, one crazy “agitator”, one great venue equal total success!
On the first of two dates playing at Ronnie Scott’s last week, Soil & Pimp Sessions (S&PS or Soil) agitated a good few souls in the crowd. Selling out on the first date, it was going to be an unbelievable night.
Japan’s S&PS released their tenth album earlier this year, “Black Track”, an irrepressible work of art. As Shacho says on the night, “music is our language” and so no-one could but forgive them for being so high and mighty, so powerful and most of all so very talented.
“Summer Goddess” opens the show, fast-pacing it to a crescendo that is simply spectacular; “let’s make music together” we hear Shacho screams. Well, yes, let’s and whilst doing it, let’s agitate. His job is to agitate… motivate…innovate, and what a job! I am rather jealous, Shacho moves effortlessly on the small stage, with a megaphone in his hand, telling the crowd things, announcing ideas, getting off stage, dancing around the remaining available space in the Club (and there isn’t much left on the night).
Soil know how to excite and they know it well. The band originally from Tokyo have been playing and making music for over 10 years. Their so-called “death jazz” (this may sound extreme categorizing, but I get it), it goes back to Billy Shaw’s and his trio Shovin’ Sunshine.
Although, as a writer, I am particularly careful and conscious of “pigeon-holing” people, I do believe Soil have a certain je ne sais quoi about them. There is a special vitality, a passion infused in how they present themselves and play live that makes them unique.
Tabu Zombie, the diminutive trumpeter, seems to have so much oxygen in his lungs, it is phenomenal to watch him create note after note after note out of his instrument. There is technique there, but most of all, strength and verve.
Josei, on piano, whether playing a slow or fast piece, he seems to have delirium tremens as he plays. His erratic sudden movements off the stool he is sitting on are only a give-away of his impeccable touch and feel towards the music. By the end of the first set, he is in a complete sweat, dark shades on, one can just perceive his long wet hair sticking to his face and his shirt having lost his crispiness. An amazing player.
My special mention has to go to Takeshi Kurihara on saxophone. Ever seen a duel between a sax and a trumpet, whether slow, fast, or moderate tempo? These two coped with any and more.
Sitting to the side of the stage was a privilege and a feast for the eyes at the same time.
Kurihara, the most flamboyantly dressed of the band, managed to leave me speechless.
After the show, I managed to stop him for a few seconds and congratulate him on a great show, he, instead, joined his hands and thanked ME for being at the show and (in turn) for saying thanks. A very humbling experience.
I have seen and reviewed a few good shows by now at Ronnies, but Soil raised the bar and whilst one can try and stick these guys in a box with a label on it, let’s try instead to listen and enjoy their offerings. They are full of grit, creativity and a dark durability.
I guess I should just add we were all lucky the ceiling didn’t fall down on us on the night; such was the power of the music!
Words: Erminia Yardley
Photos: Carl Hyde
YT Video: Victor Entertainment