Rega (rega) @ Liquidroom Ebisu (Nov. 8th, 2014)

Get sucked into the world of rega
Live Report @ Liquidroom Ebisu 2014.11.08

Call it post-rock, instrumental rock, progressive rock or whatever you like. Labels aren’t overly useful in art, but it does allow others to understand or compare. So, without doing too much in the way of comparison, rega just plain rocks. They are a rock band that lets the music do the talking for them. They don’t have a front man nor do they use lyrics in any of their songs. With no lyrics to focus on, they express feelings and emotions in a universal way, which is liberating in the sense they aren’t bound to typical conventions of a how a song should be structured. They take you on a journey, but have a good time in the process, they aren’t pretentious about what they are doing. rega welcomes you to experience their world, thoughts, dreams, and feelings through their musical expression. Sometimes these expressions are quiet, sometimes loud, slow or fast, restrained or aggressive, such is life and such was the show put on by the boys from Ehime in Southwestern Japan.

Fresh off the release of their 3rd mini-album, Among the flow, rega, often booked on larger bills had the gig to themselves on this night in Ebisu’s Liquidroom. The structure of the show was unique as rega played for about an hour, took a 20 minute break, then played for another hour. This structure suits their style. The longer set time allowed rega to take their time, chat it up with the audience and more importantly explore and develop ideas more fully. This last point is important as rega is best when given freedom; both to play off each other, to solo, to improvise and get lost in the moment. Naturally, they played a few tunes from their new album such as the dream-like “on the road” and the title track, “Among the flow”. The first half of the show was dedicated to these new tunes which ranged from powerful violent explosions of sound to eerie, calming silence. The crowd was highly attentive and very in tune with rega as we were sucked into their world. Looking out into the crowd, something left me pleasantly surprised; despite the evident display of skill rega was manifesting, as I looked around the packed venue, I didn’t see the distracting, artificial glare of one cell phone trying to recapture the moment. Everyone was there, we were living the moment along with rega, we all knew this experience couldn’t be reproduced from shaky cell phone video or pictures.

Taking us on an hour long journey without many stops along with way, rega then gave themselves and their fans a chance to catch their breathe with a 20 minute break. It seemed a bit unexpected at the time, but it fit the mood well. Fans had the chance to head to the lobby, grab a few drinks, maybe a rega album and regroup before being taken back into the world of rega. When it started up again everyone was a little bit looser and people were ready to party. Rega was back on stage chatting, joking it up, fans were a little more inebriated, having a good time. With the business of playing the new album out of the way, rega invited us to join them for “fan service time” as they called it. Without as much structure of the first half, rega let loose and shined. They were harder, faster and livelier. Guitarists Ryuji Ide and Akira Yotsumoto played off each other and against each other as if back in their basement jam session. Smiles were glued to their faces which tricked down to the river of fans below. Ide was jamming out in a variety of comical positions from up on the speakers to flat down on the stage. Fans were in tune with rega every step of the way and during this second half they were jumping, shouting, laughing, smiling and dancing.

Through it all, the true emotions of rega were unleashed upon us, those of us in tune understood exactly what they were saying and sang back in our own way. Both fan and band were more in sync and speaking to each more intimately than I’ve seen in a long time. Yet, there was no sing-along, no chanting or talking, we all lived in the world of rega for a couple hours; a world where words or cell phone cameras aren’t a prerequisite for a good time.

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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