Psychic Hotline

Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes, Live at Tachikawa Stage Garden

December 1, 2022 - By Nootropic

Words by Masaaki Hara | translation by Hashim Kotaro Bharoocha | photos by Ebi Makoto



 そして、今年(2022年)の6月、サム・ウィルクスと共に2度目の来日を果たした。僕が見たのは、FRUEが開催した1日のみの日中のライヴ・イヴェントFESTIVAL FRUEZINHO 2022だった。東京近郊にある立川ステージガーデンという、客席の後ろを開放できて、外と繋がっているハイブリッドな仕様の最新のホールが会場だった。サムたちの他には、ポルトガルからブルーノ・ペルナーダスが来日し、日本からは坂本慎太郎とceroが出演した。

 サム・ゲンデルとサム・ウィルクスは、イヴェントのトリだった。既に日が陰り、人気のある坂本慎太郎のライヴが終わっても、2500人を収容できるホールを埋めた人たちは帰ることなく、二人のライヴが始まるのを待った。コロナ対策で多少、席に余裕を持たせていたが、3階席まであるホールを埋めた人々が、サックスとベースのみのシンプルな演奏を熱心に聴き入っている光景は、それだけで感動的なものがあった。演奏が進むにつれ、サムたちも、観客も静かな熱気を帯びていった。それは、演奏が観客にフィードバックされ、観客の反応がまた演奏にフィードバックされていくことで生まれてきたものだ。最後に、ミルトン・ナシメント & ロー・ボルジェスの「Clube da Esquina」の素晴らしいカヴァーが演奏されたところで、観客の多くは(そして僕自身も)、これが特別なコンサートだと確信した。

 Masaaki Hara



         The first time Sam Gendel came to Japan was in 2019 when he performed at the FRUE festival along with artists like Laraaji and Carlos Niño. FRUE has invited artists like Hermeto Pascoal in the past and has long been known as a festival that always has a unique lineup, in contrast to the many other festivals in this country. In 2021, Gendel was invited for a solo performance, and though he was unable to come to Japan at that time due to restrictions related to the pandemic, his fanbase here has grown considerably.

         In June 2022, Gendel came to Japan for the second time to perform with Sam Wilkes. I saw their performance at the one-day live event FESTIVAL FRUEZINHO 2022, which was hosted by FRUE. It was held near Tokyo at Tachikawa Stage Garden, a new type of hybrid venue that opens up in the back and can be transformed into an open-air venue. Artists such as Bruno Pernadas from Portugal, as well as Shintaro Sakamoto and cero from Japan also performed at the event.

         Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes were the last performers on the bill. After the ever-popular Shintaro Sakamoto performed, the sun had set. But the 2,500-seat venue was still packed, with the audience eagerly awaiting Gendel and Wilkes’ performance and showing no signs of going home. Due to the pandemic, the venue had slightly reduced capacity, but you could see people filling the seats up to the third floor, listening intently and getting lost in the minimal yet exquisite soundscapes played on sax and bass by the duo. It was as if the sonic energy from the duo was being absorbed by the audience and then fed back to the performers to create an energetic loop. When the duo performed their beautiful rendition of “Clube da Esquina No.2” by Nascimento & Lô Borges as their final number, the audience, including myself, knew that this concert was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

by Masaaki Hara