TsuShiMaMiRe @ Austin Convention Center International Stage in SXSW (Mar. 18th, 2015)

Even indoors, long-running Japanese rock trio wows at SXSW
Live Report : “Even indoors, long-running Japanese rock trio wows at SXSW” @ Austin Convention Center International Stage, Austin TX 2015.03.18

One of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival’s biggest positive points also happens to be one of its greatest cons – there is just so much music. What looks like a musical paradise a month out turns into an overwhelming week, wherein seeing everything one wants becomes impossible.

Thank goodness, then, for venues such as the International Day Stage, tucked away inside the Austin Convention Center (air conditioning, power outlets, chairs). It is a go-to spot for artists hailing from countries that don’t normally get heavy press attention, and a relatively easy one to access. It was here, on the late afternoon of the first official day of SXSW Music, that Japan’s TsuShiMaMiRe played a high-energy set, the sort of show that might have been swallowed up by all the action outside but inside, managed to stand out.

The trio ripped through a handful of their best songs during the 50-minute set, most of them featuring a foodie theme. Lead singer Mari prefaced most of the songs with a brief explanation of what culinary item was at the heart of the tune (“Do you know Japanese umeboshi?”), before the group roared to life. TsuShiMaMiRe’s take on rock sounds chaotic and likely to fall apart at any second, but the secret to their live success is how that is sort of an illusion. The shambling drive of a song such as “Nomisou Shortcake” is constructed just that way, and even though it sounds like it could break apart, that’s just a design feature.

Which is why at the International Day Stage, TsuShiMaMiRe never messed up, and delivered an energetic and memorable set. A new song such as “Speedy Wonder,” full of stop-start moments, went off without a hitch, while older songs (making up the bulk of the set list…they had just released a best-of compilation a few months before) were as frantic as when they first appeared. The trio, having been together for 15 years and thus lacking the fresh “buzz” so many people seek out at SXSW, easily could have been lost in the shuffle in 2015, but found a spot to shine thanks to the International Day Stage.

Text by Patrick St. Michel

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