by / September 22nd, 2008 /

Fujiya and Miyagi, Fringe Festival, Dublin

This year the Hennessy Spiegeltent made the move from the financial environs of the IFSC to the more palaitial surroundings of the Iveagh Gardens and on Saturday’s night thanks to the An Evening with Fujiya and Miyagi show, we finally made it down for the first time to check it out having already missed out on shows from Cathy Davey, Skream, Sugarhill Gang, Psychofest and tonnes more.

The grounds are the real selling point of the festival this year. In the IFSC, space was limited to a single area occupied by the tent and surrounded by water but in the Iveagh Gardens an abundance of space meant there was room for food and drink stalls with the beautiful wooden structure of the Speigeltent placed nearby an illuminated waterfall. In fact, the place was such an attractive place to be, the organisers were charging €2 to people who wanted to come in and socialise on the grounds but who didn’t want to see the show. This resulted in a large crowd outside the Speigeltent, lending the place some extra atmosphere. There was no way all assembled were there to see the little-known Brighton kraut-rockers Fujiya and Miyagi and friends.

F&J’s support on the night was a twosome called Project Jenny, Project Jan whose music was reminiscent of the ramshackle pop/electronica parts of a Dan Le Sac / Scroobius Pip show with added croon. The audience were receptive but State was convinced (and still is) that the singer was miming to a backing track. Any takers?

Having listened to Fujiya and Miyagi’ second album Lightbulbs, State could see the potential problems. Namely, a band who only seemed to have one album of ideas and replicated those ideas on their second album. Listen to the latest single ‘Knickerbocker’ after ‘Ankle Injuries’ and one would be convinced that they are alternative takes of the same song such are the similarities in the bass, beats and the vocal intonations.

Seriously, you try it:

Ankle Injuries

Knickerbocker

State isn’t the only one who noticed this. Pockets of the audience, who responded emphatically to an early play of ‘Ankle Injuries’ with its repetitive matra of “Fujiya, Miyagi” sang the same mantra throughout ‘Knickerbocker’, thinking that we were being treated to a second airing of the first song.

It’s a pity as live, Fujiya nd Miyagi are a tight prospect and a great impetetus to throw shapes on the dancefloor. The addition of a live drummer and some dice-based visuals helped the show overall but State can’t escape a nagging feeling that this band could do an awful lot more than monotone-lead rhythmic Kraut jams.

The Speigeltent’s new home though? An emphatic thumbs up. Here’s to next year.

Photo by Sean Conroy.