and Asobi Seksu
Le Poisson Rouge
January 22, 2010
Written by Eric Atienza
Photographed by Amy Davidson
Yoki Chikudate of
Outside of Le Poisson Rouge temperatures were dropping,
winds were swirling and limbs were freezing. Outside,
winter was asserting its dominance exhibited by
chattering teeth, shivering limbs and thick clouds
Inside the Village venue, however, warm tones and
warmer tunes melted through the crowd’s icy
shroud as Asobi Seksu continued its acoustic tour
amid one of New York City’s coldest nights.
Matty Fasano and Todd Goldstein
Guests sat in tables as waitresses meandered back
and forth occasionally taking and delivering orders.
Patrons calmly chattered away in the quiet, low-lit
club while waiting for the opener, Arms, to take
the stage. All background noise quickly died away,
however, once the three-piece eased into its set
of hauntingly touching indie ballads.
Todd Goldstein of Arms
The rhythms began with an alt-country twang, but
haunting vocal harmonies quickly joined the gentle
guitar picking to create an earnest, introspective
atmosphere. The drum kit laid down a gentle beat
underneath the soft crooning resulting in a deeply
earthy yet strangely ethereal sound. Arms’
aesthetic echoes Bon Iver in its stark simplicity
and the tragic beauty of the songs was not lost
on the audience at all. As each song ended with
each last poignant note fading into the woodwork
those in attendance erupted into applause, urging
the band to once again travel the bittersweet territory
of life and loss explored in its music.
The moving performance was carried by both the almost
tactile drumbeats and he striking vocal harmonies.
James Hanna of Asobi Seksu
Sadly, this penchant for heartstring-pulling subtlety
was not repeated in Asobi Seksu’s set. Most
fans will note the group’s unbridled energy
and unrepentant power-pop mastery, however most
of the elements that made the group’s electric
work so engaging were missing from the acoustic
set. Usually unplugged renditions are more engaging
and evocative, but this set merely presented a deflated
version of what the band usually offers. The group
takes no chances in the re-arrangement of previous
favorites and makes no strides with the new material.
The set featured repetitive guitar riffs and an
under-used two guitar setup in which both guitarist
simply mimicked each other to create a very mid-day,
mid-90s radio rock sound.
Yoki Chikudate of Asobi
To the band’s credit singer
Yuki Chikudate’s vocal was both sweeter and
fuller than hinted at in previous works. Her voice
was thick and yearning, robust and essentially moving.
It’s a shame the set reduced a beautiful voice
to a front-piece for an average collection of radio
In the sedate, comfortable setting of the club both
bands provided a pleasant alternative to the biting
weather outside. It was only Arms, however, that
provided lasting warmth and comfort.