Ohashi Trio – QSW Culture Center, July 31
It was odd to be in a familiar place, seated, and holding thin glow sticks that were handed out to the audience last Sunday afternoon. I was about to see Ohashi Trio, a jazz-tinged, Japanese pop act by Ohashi Yoshinori. It was surprising to see the venue full, and I could only wonder how people knew about the music. There was this pre-conceived notion I was about to be with Japanophiles/otaku, but it looked like I was with the preppy, canvas tote-bag carrying crowd.
We heard the hits, sans my favorites -one being a heartwrenching rendition of Utada Hikaru’s Stay Gold– and was treated to virtuoso instrument solos. I had the impression though that people were in the same boat as I was: Ohashi Trio’s strength is not only that distinct top-hat, pajama-clad/cape-wearing, banjo wielding, soft-voiced singer/bandleader, and the happy, carnivalesque vibe, but the chest-clutching, tearjerky ballads. The show felt short, too, clocking at one song after an hour and a half mark. At this point, I’m really just nitpicking, as like any fan, I’m just glad I got to see Ohashi at a most convenient distance from me.