Mysterious things are afoot in the St Peters neighbourhood. Melting Vinyl present Yama Warashi and Brighton’s very own ChopChop for an evening of sonic, organic, woven spells that produces something really rather odd. Luckily we like odd. As Gordon Gecko once didn’t say, odd is good!
The Rose Hill is a cutie. Hidden down a side street and neatly nestled in a row of terraced houses, it’s a gorgeous little pub with a performance space out back and decor that looks like a miniature Las Vegas casino if the theme was parochial and eccentric Albion. The perfect setting then for the most enigmatic of evenings out…
Support tonight comes from local five-piece ChopChop. Featuring tightly wound jazz and electro reggae syncopations that would make a maths teacher proud, the rhythm section is so locked in they may never be free from each other. Frontman Xelis De Toro spins weird, far-flung fairytale yarns, half sung and half spoken, whilst synths, guitars and brass stutter and start all around him. The result defies genre, but we’d like to bet that if he isn’t already, David Byrne would be a big fan.
Yama Warashi means mountain spirit in Japanese and The Rose Hill has become an ethereal garden of earthly delights. Singer Yoshino Shigihara has a fascinating voice that is reassuring, soothing and almost motherly. She started her musical life in Bristol as part of Zun Zun Egui, before she evolved into the form we see before us. Stationed at her beloved synthesisers, Shigihara and her band are bathed in tumbling animated projections that look like Yellow Submarine if it were drawn by Hiromu Arakawa and the visuals augment what becomes an increasingly hallucinatory experience.
Yama Warashi’s songs of cosmic nature have a healthy fascination with the moon and the sound is Japanese folk fused with contemporary and experimental jazz. The result is akin to Abel and Cole spiking your vegetable box; it is earthy, hypnotic and wholesome, as if these songs were cultivated and grown, not written. Yama Warashi are unique and they are odd, a warm musical oasis of complete individuality and if you’ve never given their debut album ‘Boiled Moon’ a twirl, we’d highly recommend it.
The spacial oddities served up by Melting Vinyl and The Rose Hill tonight are rich in healthy expression and experimentation, like an aural ginger shot for the soul. Next time you fancy a restorative walk on the odd side and you spot either of these performers on a bill, you totally know what to do.
Melting Vinyl present Yama Warashi and ChopChop
The Rose Hill, Thursday 7th July 2022
Words and photos by Jason Warner