GIG REVIEW – Tomoyasu Hotei – The Lexington – 7/07/15

It’s been a while since Tomoyasu Hotei first moved here three years ago to further his career not only in Japan but all over the world and since then, he’s continued to do what he does best, performing and releasing new material. So with those goals set, he returns to the Lexington for a second time, around a year after his last performance, going from selling out bigger venues to doing much of the same thing in a smaller one, quite the contrast but in turn, allows the show to be a lot more intimate than usual.

Accompanying him on stage were his band consisting of bassist and good friend Apollo’s 440’s Noko, keyboardist Andy Wallace and drummer Cliff Hewitt who powered through each song without difficulty. In context, it only felt right that the set list mainly consisted of songs from his most recent album, ‘New Beginnings’, alongside favourites such as ‘Battle Without Honor or Humanity’ and the Mission Impossible theme tune.

The evening did come with its own set of surprises in the form of Shea Seger singing the lyrics to ‘Walking Through’, ‘Kill or Kiss’ and ‘Texas Groove’ with her powerful, soulful voice, perfectly capturing the energy in those songs. The band also covered Apollo 440’s ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub’, going from one extreme to the other, switching things up quite dramatically but also staying true to Hotei’s signature style.

Overall, it was a tame evening but enjoyed very thoroughly with people dancing here and there to others standing still taking it all in but regardless, there was a round of applause met when songs ended and that alone was enough to illustrate the appreciation of everyone in the room.

With a date at the Islington Hall later on this year and a new album this autumn, it only makes sense for this man to reach international stardom sometime in the near and upcoming future, if he hasn’t already. However, until then, I’m sure that those who love his music and his live shows will continue to support him until he reaches that place.

Dayle Corbin

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