The Tokyo-based five-piece band, who have been continuing to grow international acclaim, rarely visit North America, and even less frequently make stops in Colorado. So, it wasn’t a surprise to see a theater packed with fans on what would typically be a slow night for most live music venues. All in all, the show was more than expected and turned out to be one of the best I’ve attended over the past year.
Starting out the night was Boulder artist Ashley Koett. What felt like a mix between soul, jazz, and indie bedroom pop, the band brought together a relaxed, laid-back set composed of tasteful bass grooves and catchy guitar melodies, all supported by the pleasant timbre of Ashley’s voice. Following Koett’s crew was WEEED, a psych-rock quintet featuring the uncommon double-drummer setup, along with electric bass, guitar, flute, conga, harmonica, and ambient live-looping. In long, hypnotic jams, the band captivated the audience and got them moving along with the heavily textured percussion and the reverberating daze of guitar solos.
But, as the headliner collected themselves on stage, a noticeable change in energy happened throughout the room. Hair grown well past their shoulders and dressed in clothes which resembled the fashion of the sixties and seventies, Kikagaku Moyo gave off the semblance and character of wandering bohemian mystics with a slew of curious instruments placed upon the stage. The usual cast was present (drums, bass,keyboard, and guitar), but the unusual characters such as the electric sitar (a defining aspect of their sound), and cello also found their place among the band.
Tightly-honed, as well as spaciously free-formed, together they played through the best of their catalog adding unique improvised moments which made watching the performance feel all the more special. It was a pleasure to get to see the band react on the fly, switching from spaced-out meditations tenuously held together by echoing guitar riffs, to introspective and effortlessly catchy pop melodies which quickly received cheers from the crowd once recognized.
In this rare chance to see Kikagaku Moyo, I couldn’t have been more satisfied with their incredible performance, and I was even happier at the end of the night when I stopped at the merch table to picked one of their records on vinyl, as they rarely make their way to U.S. record stores. Surely to be recognized as one of the most notable psychedelic acts of the past decade, it was a pleasure to see Kikagaku Moyo perform.
Keep up with Kikagaku Moyo here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.