On a cold evening in March this year, a friend wrote me this urgent mail: “One of the best bands ever is playing at Super Deluxe tonight and apparently, I’ll be joining the performance as a ‘Street Sign’! Drop by if you can!” I thought that sounded weird enough to give it a try. Although the promised love-act between a one-way and a stop-sign eventually didn’t take place, I still became the biggest fan of the Black Light Orchestra. Pursuing research into the fascinating field of negative harmony, these Belgian performers are certainly everything you need to celebrate life: funny, sentimental, loud, delicate, original, heartbreaking and overall: strange! Now, they are back in Tokyo after a one month Japan tour to perform one last time. Charter the next airplane around the corner and be sure to make it to the event this Thursday!
Written by Uleshka
Spearheaded by Mr. Diagonal (composer, pianist and singer), the quintet consists of Quentin Manfroy (flute), Gregoire Tirtiaux (baritone/alto sax and umbrella), Eric Bribosia (uptown pianist and downtown organist) and Yannick Dupont (vibraphone, Glockenspiel, drums and crow).
Mr. Diagonal heating up the atmosphere with heartbreaking tunes, hilarious lyrics and his vicious look
Eric on the keyboard with a Black Light Butterfly in the background at their last concert in Osaka
How could one describe their music? After-dinner rock’n'roll? An impossible galactic glam rock soundtrack with heartbreaking nursery rhymes? This Belgium’s premier pocket surrealist pop ensemble have a simple message: worshipping the Red Rabbit!
Daniel: It’s not so much about worshipping, actually. It’s more about… quantum physics!
Uleshka: So, who is the Red Rabbit, then?
Daniel: No, you’re not!
Gregoire: Yes, I am!
Not only would probably each single band member deliver enough stories to fill libraries with, they also seem to keep mutating from one character into another!
Gregoire alone manages to transform from the largest street sign you ever met to an innocent looking saxophonist to then mutate again to a 2.07meter tall scary Mickey – in split seconds! Stunning…
…while he is actually Mickey’s evil twin!
Even on evenings with a very skimmed audience such as Uplink Factory a few days back, I could not notice any lack of motivation. Black Light Orchestra gave it all (and even take their time to educate lesser gifted musicians after the show).
Another thing that impresses is Mr. Diagonal’s incredible skill to involve the audience in his compositions. Here is a little recording of him explaining the upcoming song which is set in a deep forest – performed in excellent Japanese!
(The true Japanese talent in this group, however, must be Quentin, who makes the audience cry with his sad poem he learnt by heart when he was ill in the woods with nothing else equipped but his Berlitz book…)
Having started Black Light Orchestra as a one-man-band back in the days, Mr. Diagonal seems to have endless powers to entertain with poetry, dance and a special set of “contemporary music”. Here is one example contemporary piece: the Elephant, recorded at the Jazz club NENOHAKO in Meguro and another one called Sad Carrot performed at Brian Eno’s exhibition at LaForet a little while ago.
Check their website for updates. Who knows if they don’t play at a theatre near you one day. And in case you can come to Super Deluxe on Thursday, make sure you get one of their handmade CDs on your way out!