For their first trip to Dublin, Tricot are received by an adoring half-full room at Hangar; by the night’s close, the Japanese math-rock/pop band will tear through a set that’s explosively energetic – tight as any touring seasoned band – and more than anything else, fun. Before the enjoyable chaos of Tricot, though, Irish four-piece Yonen will have their first outing after two years of solid rehearsals. The result of such an intense practice/writing schedule is – as you would imagine – a tidal wave of music that’s so dense in its structure that it’s almost difficult to do it justice after just one listen.
With visuals that are timed to the set, the forty-minute performance is more akin to an art-instillation as images of galaxies and landscapes spin and jilted as the band play with dynamics and time signatures. ‘Tokyo’ has wonderful moments of four-to-the-floor head bopping before returning to the fragmented, melodic start-stop nature of Yonen. Last song ‘Meru’ (which guitarist Alan Dooley tells the crowd is about “Genesis…” and “…the start of something”) encompasses the feeling of the set with huge sounds, layered with escapism and does feel like the start of something.
Yonen have spent the last two years honing their craft and the result is a band who are firmly grounded in math-rock motifs but have also emerged as a rather unique entity. Part visual show, part instillation, this is a band with big ideas and with music good enough to back them up.
After the Yonen audio-visual experience, Tricot get straight to business. From the off the band race through songs with conviction and confidence. ‘Ochansensu-su’s off-time melodies and drum’n’bass break-beats show off Tricot’s tightness as a live band. Crowd favorite ‘Pool’ offers a chance for the captive audience to dance and sing along in what sounds like for the most part, a phonetic interpretation of the Japanese language.
For a set that runs over an hour and is primarily non-stop energetic math-pop, you would be forgiven for thinking that it could become monotonous but the opposite is true. Breaks between songs are sometimes filled with a few words of thanks or words of encouragement to the crowd (there’s even a few choice phrases recited in Irish) but then it’s straight back into fast melodic riffs with steady vocal lines on top.
At times it’s hard to know where to focus your attention on stage as each member of the band seem to be playing as if their life depended on it. Drummer Yamaguchi Miyoko is ferocious in her playing. How she plays with such intensity and dynamic accuracy for the entire set is impressive to say the least. Guitarist Kida Motoko unleashes an array of beautifully intricate melodies and head-melting technical playing while vocalist/guitarist Nakajima Ikkyu keeps the band in check with her attention switching from crowd to band like clockwork.
For the entirety of their set, Tricot are at home. For a band visiting this part of the world for the first time, they manage to make a small section of Dublin feel like a homecoming show in their native Japan. Maybe it’s the strength of the songs, the constant up-beat nature of the band, the near-flawless performance or the constantly engaged crowd that make the night so enjoyable but whatever the reason, I can only hope (along with everyone else in attendance) that they’ll return to our shores again.