This is the first, hopefully of many, of fan recaps and reviews covering Snarky Puppy’s Immigrance world tour. Many thanks to Tai Suzuki, a fan and friend I met at the GroundUP Music Festival 2017 who provided this entire recap. He really did a great job and hope you enjoy it!
Michael League – bass
Bob Lanzetti – guitar
Justin Stanton – trumpet, keys
Mike “Maz” Maher – trumpet, flugelhorn
Chris Bullock – sax
Shaun Martin – keys
Bobby Sparks – keys
Keita Ogawa – percussion
Jason J.T. Thomas – drums
Japanese fans have been waiting for this moment to see Snarky Puppy for two years since their last show in Japan and just 10 days after the release of their new record, Immigrance. Here’s the set list and recap –
1. Even Us
The show started with one of their new tunes, quieter than any other Snarky show that I’ve ever seen. Bob was gently picking around the bridge where the string tension is higher. This is perhaps to replicate the acoustic sound of the original track.
I am sure many folks were depressed to see him no longer playing his white Tokai guitar, an old Japanese brand. However the sound was awesome through the whole show, proving to everybody at the show that sound mostly comes from the player, not the instrument.
Always fun to see them play their songs in a different arrangement. This time the song didn’t start with Michael’s distinctive bass riff, but with Jason’s super groovy drum play. Even after he started playing it was something with more space which is different from the original riff.
There were definitely older Snarky fans who were waiting for this song to be played. Always fun to hear the clean tone of the guitar in the intro. Michael’s solo towards the end was when everybody went crazy, when he was tapping the string with his both hands while turning on an envelope filter. Slapping a bass is not always what’s needs to be done — that’s what he teaches every bassist on earth.
Deepest funkiness in 2019 was bought to Japan by the funk brothers, Shaun and Bobby. People were waving their hands and moving their bodies to cherish this moment. We’ll see if they can top the funkiness of this moment when they are back in September. Herbie Hancock will be there as the strongest rival.
5. Bad Kids To The Back
Justin wrote some of my favorite Snarky tunes, like ‘Outlier’ and he has added another one to the list. Everybody was moving their body through the whole song especially during the catchy chorus part. The drum solo towards the end nailed us. Unlike the original version, of course, the solo wasn’t shared by three drummers this time. That allowed us to fully concentrate on what Jason did.
6. Bigly Strictness
Michael borrowed a pick from an audience member when he didn’t having one with him. (Didn’t Bob have one to lend him?) First time for Japanese fans (as far as I know) to see Maz playing his solo through a distorted effect which added a rock taste to the tune. Justin’s beautiful solo with a mellow sound keys filled audience’s heart.
7. What about Me?
What a privilege to see Bob playing solo in this song — the ‘original’ person. After his stunning solo , Michael introduced everybody on stage also showing his appreciation to every staff member involved, which sadly means the shows is coming to the end. However this time he didn’t introduce one guy till the very end — Keita Ogawa who was born on this island. When Michael finally introduced him the audience made the biggest noise, assuming everybody wanted to show how proud they are to have a Japanese member of the band. Keita’s solo lasted over 5 minutes as if he responsed to the heat bought by the audience. After the song, all band members bowed so deeply like Japanese do. That’s when we felt the connection with the band even deeper.
‘It’s always very special for us when we are able to come to Japan and we could not do it if you’re not here. So thank you so much.’ Michael shows his appreciation to the audience and the band started playing the last song. I wonder how they can come up with such song with perfect blend of ethnic music and jazz funk music.
There were definitely people waiting for other older songs but this is their ‘Immigrance tour’ so why not keep it for the next time. Thank you Snarky for another awesome night.