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Fujiya & Miyagi
Le Poisson Rouge
February 17, 2009

Written by Austin Rodrigues
Photo Courtesy of
Fujiya & Miyagi


Should I be dancing? This was the question I kept asking myself throughout Fujiya & Miyagi's entire set at Le Poisson Rouge last night. A recipe created with the band's low energy mixed with a dubious crowd and a lumpy play list, baked the show so it never reached its full potential.

This was my first time seeing Fujiya & Miyagi live, having only heard a handful of songs on their Myspace page previously. I was outside smoking before the show, where I caught a snippet of conversation between the lead singer (David Best, aka Miyagi) and a fellow concert-goer. He said something to the effect of "Well, this is New York, so it means more when you play here. You really want to make sure you put up a good set." That being said, if that show was the most they could give, they should really work on their live stuff.

There was nothing wrong with the show, per se. Having listened to their songs a couple times before hearing them live, I was really excited when they played a song I knew. Their beats are groovy, their flow is fun and their songs are sexy, but their show was just "pleasant." In New York, that's not enough.

One definite plus to F&M, is that they have sort of an uncanny ability to fuse a bunch of things into one and pull it off. The drums feel like straight up rock and roll, the bass feels like a James Brown groove, the lead guitar reminded me of Michael J. Fox in the last scene of Back to the Future, and the synths, beats and programming sound like an electronic indie band. The vocals are really only there to serve the music. The lyrics range from "look inside your encyclopedia" to "toe bone connected to the ankle bone connected to the shin bone". While the lyrics may not be the most profound, the whispery tone in which they're sung leads to the overall sensuality of the songs.

There were a couple of moments that Best and Steve Lewis (Fujiya), the band's beats man, shared with each other - a back and forth dance kind of thing that was really cool. It made me want to get into it more, and started to answer my question...that Yes, maybe I should be dancing. But these moments were few and far between.

My favorite song of the night was "Cassettesingle." The studio version doesn't sound as funky, but the live performance really had the crowd feeling good. This was the only song that changed the expression on the sound guy's face. I think I even saw him bop his head a little.

The next song "Pterodactyls" kept the build up going. The main lyrics to this one were "Oh" and "Ah", and the closing lyrics were "inch by inch". This one made me wish the hot twins from the opening act (School of Seven Bells) were around to dance with me.

A couple songs later, they started to lose it. People got bored and the crowd started thinning. I shouldn't be dancing and I should be exiting instead?

My overall assessment is that I like Fujiya & Miyagi. They remind me of Royksopp, and I could see their music ending up in the next Geico ad campaign. With a little more energy, maybe they could pump up a crowd like Hot Chip could, and I'd know I should be dancing.

So my assignment was to write on Fujiya & Miyagi, but it must be said that the opening act, School of Seven Bells, was fu*king awesome! Their sound totally filled the venue with a real unique style. If you get a chance check them out. Especially if you are a heterosexual male or a homosexual woman. Twins! Gorgeous gorgeous twins.

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