Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Country House, Akasaka

After repeated success and enjoyment at Rocky Top, and really quite serious letdown at Nashville, I've been gun-shy about trying more country music live venues in Tokyo. Part of the problem is that, in so many ways, my economic mentality is mired in the 90's (or so). I think a concert ticket should cost about $30, so the fact that they're more like $100, and $25 only gets you entry to one-room faux-country bars with pickup bands, always shocks my system. Guitar prices are much the same - incomprehensible. But Swannie is a good sport as well as a a good many other things, and after a light dinner elsewhere we rocked up the stairs to country out. [Incidentally, go ahead and call me cheap. Try it. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.]

This place is tiny, and Kountry, and not bad at all. The people are nice, what few of them there were, the band was pretty good despite just being the house band going through the motions in the absence of the 'name' singers that they have a few nights a week. They have a LOT of extra hats. We didn't try to wear them, but we should have.

The house band was neat to watch - the acoustic guitar player / singer is clearly an employee, or maybe it's his place, or I dunno, but at the end of the night he got us our bill. The lead guitarist had all sorts of interesting attributes. Not least among these was how he played a neat single-note style with a thumbpick and fingers on a 70's LP Custom (and I can say this with some certainty, because it was a lot like my '78, which I'm gonna be rocking out in the near future on my annual US Tour), but greatest among them was how he did it all while barely moving, and wearing a Buddhist prayer bracelet. They did what I would describe as a 'decent mix' - Hank, Hank Jr., Buck, more modern stuff, and then some Eagles. Because of the singer's voice and the laconic stylings of the lead player (constant single-note lines and double-stops in major 7ths and 6ths; you know I'm a flat 7 kinda guy. Also, he played almost exclusively on the neck pickup, which is just weird considered he's basically playing Tele-style music), everything had a melancholy air.

One of my favorite features was the drummer, who in addition to being a good drummer in the boring-but-tight country mold (or the Ringo mold, if that describes it for you), wore a cool Hawaiian shirt and a funny hat with tassles in the back. He made some good faces. Another of my favorite things was the aging waitress line-dancing with 2 of the even-older customers.

You wanna see some pickin'? I knew you did! Check it out.

Check it out some more.

OK, that's enough. This place is too expensive, and while it's better than Nashville, it's not as good as Rocky Top.

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