On a rainy Brighton day TarO&JirO and Mayu Wakisaka played to only a handful of attendees (mostly acquaintances) alongside trip rockers Buffalo Daughter for their first show of The Great Escape Festival at The Hope, but two days later they managed to completely pack out the Queens Hotel. A week later they took to the dark basement of the Pipeline in the heart of London, this time with Korean grungers Asian Chair Shot. Delayed due to problems with the sound engineering, each act had to rely on mere muscle memory to get their sound just right, though this didn’t seem to deter the small crowd from congregating around the bar area before doors opened.

First up, singer song-writer Mayu Wakisaka providing some easy listening for the night, setting the chilled out mood on the venue floor. Wakisaka is certainly a charmer, her light banter and sense of humour joins each personal track together, making you feel you’re flicking through the pages of someone’s diary rather than listening to a set. Firing off one memorable song after another, with themes of adventure, joy, and heartbreak, she proved that she is surely an artist to keep an eye on, but preparing viewers for what was to come next, she did not.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are Asian Chair Shot from Seoul. Edgy, restless, and full of vigour, these guys knew their way around their instruments, providing a far from expected set that had people interested at the sound check. Playing guitars with their teeth, and getting in with the crowd, their set was unpredictable and left everyone wanting more. It felt like I was listening to tunes belonging to the golden era of grunge, a thought that was concreted in my mind as their take on Nirvana’s classic ‘Breed’ flooded the room for their much requested encore. If you’re like me and have not delved into the world of Korean rock just yet, let these guys be your gateway.

Bringing the night to the close, the most promising (and probably only) guitar brother duo to come out of Japan in recent years, TarO&JirO. These young up and coming artists are loud, proud, and full of it- they’re good, and they know it. They masterful pair absorbed the crowd’s attention and reflected it right back at them, making for an intimate set that got everyone moving. The lack of percussion did feel like a missed opportunity, but even with just the use of an electric bass drum pedal and the slapping their guitars, they gave a well rounded set of skilled guitar work with a sound close to that of the guitar samurai himself, but with a touch more funk!

Despite the mishaps with sound, this was the perfect night for discovery. Pop, rock, and funk, this night had something for everyone, with music that is truly worthy of your attention.

Words by Charles Shepherd

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