Kitty, Daisy & Lewis vs Ego-Wrappin’ @ Roppongi EX Theater (Oct. 2nd, 2015)

Two great bands, one great night of music
Live Report : “Two great bands, one great night of music” @ Roppongi EX Theater 2015.10.02

Ego Wrappin' and Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

Growing up listening to electronic music and DJs, going to raves and parties; the bill being advertised as “vs.” always meant something special. Usually these were collaboration sets or back-to-back specials where the DJs would play with and battle against one another like a soundclash. The artists were on the stage at the same time, each taking their turn trying to outdo the other. So, when I noticed a flier for a show being billed as ‘Ego wrappin’ vs. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis’, my expectations may have been set a little too high. In this case, the ‘vs.’ should have been ‘and’. I realise they wanted the 2 bands to share the bill, so there wasn’t a perceived headliner. Technically though, it was still Ego-Wrappin’ who opened for Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, despite set lengths being very similar in time. However, I digress… With the whole ‘vs.’ preamble out the the way, at the heart of it, the Ego Wrappin’ AND Kitty, Daisy and Lewis show was pretty solid as expected.

Each band played for about an hour and only then did they all come together on stage for a single track collaboration. So, while the show wasn’t the song for song, rowdy, versus battle I had in mind, it was a couple of very musical sets from 2 very solid bands. When they did finally get together, the joint collaboration was indeed that something special that I think many, including myself had been waiting for. But, I’m jumping the gun a bit, lets start with Ego-Wrappin’.

Ego-Wrappin'Osaka’s Ego-Wrappin’, who are quickly approaching their 20th year as a band, kicked things off with a lively and varied set. They whipped through a whole range of musical styles and engaged in plenty of fun banter with the crowd along the way. It’s easy to see why Ego-Wrappin’ has been around so long, they clearly still love what they are doing. They’re still expanding their musical range and their joy for live performace translates well on the stage. All the members of Ego-Wrappin’ and the Gossip of Jaxx band seemed to similarly treasure this little one-off, 2-city tour with Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.

Wrappin’s frontwoman, Yoshie Nakano detailed how fun it was hanging out with KD&L and their crew even if there was a bit of a language barrier at times. She noted that KD&L’s own legendary Jamaican trumpeter, Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton may have even replaced her own Grandfather as her new favourite “cute old man”.

Up next were the musical family band that is Camden Town’s Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. They’ve been making regular stops in Japan since 2008 and they last played here some 2 months ago at Fuji Rock Festival. Their set on this night was fairly similar to Fuji’s in that it consisted of mainly tunes off their new album, The Third and a smattering of past favourites.

Kitty, Daisy and LewisAs per usual, the 3 siblings switched instruments every song; each was given their moment to dominate a given track. Mid-way through, to the delight of everyone, the infectiously giddy Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton made his way on stage to blow his horn get the crowd going as only the 80-year old Jamaican music legend can. The set seemed to fly by and was very enjoyable even if wasn’t all that different from when they played here 2 months ago at Fuji. The real magic of the evening however, was still to come.

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis came out for an encore where they played their 2008 hit, “Buggin Blues”. During the encore they really opened things up and extended the tune. There was a killer harmonica solo from Kitty and a very lengthy and soulful solo from Lewis on guitar. The trio are all insanely skilled on multiple instruments. They are really a special band when they slow things down and are given the time to improvise and show off this skill. They’re still good when the perform by the book, but become magical when they are given freedom to shine.

Ego-Wrappin'This shining freedom lead us to encore number 2 and the moment I think most were waiting for. Ego-Wrappin’, the Gossip of Jaxx, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis along with their parents and ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton all took to the stage and let loose. There were now 12 musicians up on stage jamming together; each of them with a big goofy grin plastered to their face the entire time. They ripped through a version of Muddy Waters’ blues classic, “Got My Mojo Working”. Yoshie Nakano took most of the mic duties while everyone else played along. One-by-one each player was given a moment to show off to the others and to the crowd below. It was a true one-off experience and part of the reason I think we all go to live shows. As special as the moment was, just like that it was over. The Ego-Wrappin’ vs. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis experiment was done for now. So, while I’d gladly pay to see either of these bands play live again, I’d jump at the chance to once again see them rock the same stage at the same time.

–>Photo Report of Ego-Wrappin’s set

–>Photo Report of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis’ set

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