Performing at Yukotopia Again


Tonight at Yukotopia, we blissed out to four acts, including mine. Doing the What Living’s All About show two nights in a row freed me to take new risks, especially with my choreography. I am having the time of my life.


In an ultimate act of courtesy, the club posted signs requesting that patrons not smoke until after I had finished my set. I didn’t ask for this; it’s a perk from Sandy Rothman’s residence, since he requested this on the nights he played.


First up: Catch and Release, a very large group (nine people this time, but Yuko says the personnel varies from show to show, as the group has an open policy about friends sitting in. Yes, that’s a digiridoo player on the left.) The overriding feeling was Family; the woman singing up front also works at Yukotopia tending bar, and her parents play in the group. They played trance music, that is to say, mostly, instead of songs, they improvised over one and two chord drones, although they also performed the Grateful Dead classic “Uncle John’s Band.”


I was next. With a sizeable contingent of the audience comprised of the members of the other three bands, the support, if possible, was even more enthusiastic than the night before. God bless the deadheads of Tokyo; they do enjoy their musicians, and the musicians appreciate each other’s work.


After me came Strange Taste, which, like me, is a singer/songwriter driven act whose songs sizzle with political outrage, humor, sex and love. Wonderful blues, reggae, singing, instrumental solos. Good fun, altogether.


Last up was Pineapple Tom, another large trance band (seven players), but this group is all about focus and sophistication, with lots of cleverly arranged musical figures, at the same time as an almost free jazz quality to the improvisation. I say “almost” because the rhythm section churned forth danceable beats, of which the audience took advantage. Good free jazz will blow your brains, but only a modern dance troupe would dance to it.


On both nights some of the deadheads brought their kids, who danced, played, and generally enjoyed themselves in the night bar scene. These two kids danced plenty, and the baby came up to me and held my hand and laughed. Yuko and Roku have three kids, and I could tell they enjoy having little ones in the club. I sure did.