Jah Wobble & The Japanese Dub Ensemble, Liverpool O2 Academy 5th Aug 2010
One time Public Image Limited bass guitarist Jah Wobble has experimented with many different musicians and styles over the years, culminating in the recent release of his Japanese Dub album (the second in a trilogy of far eastern influenced works). The Japanese Dub follows on nicely from the Chinese Dub album, the more minimalist sounds don't detract from the experience and the bass lines are just as heavy.
I have attended numerous gigs at the Liverpool Academy and was taken by surprise to see the stage bedecked in candles and an assortment of orchids; the flower arranging ('ikebana') courtesy of Takashi Sawano. The stage was also strewn with an array of unusual Japanese instruments; taiko drums and a koto amongst them. The set started with just the heady beats of the drums and thunderous bass of Wobble performing together; the small but appreciative crowd clearly enjoying it.
The set progressed with a lady dressed in full traditional Japanese costume joining the band and playing the koto. The sound of this section of the evening was mainly derived from the Japanese Dub album; intricate bass, heavy drumming and twangy strings produce an unusual though very pleasing combination. Seamlessly, the songs became less oriental and more progressive with some excellent vocals, flutes and guitar. This dip into prog rock was then followed by a substantial amount of reggae dub which had the audience dancing.
This was an evening of great diversity, of fusing eastern and western music, mixing genres, sampling styles and even throwing in two or three cover songs. The overall effect was to create a memorable sound and visual experience even the bubbles seemed to fit in