Gezan at Don Pedro—photo by Andy Bernstein

Gezan at Don Pedro—photo by Andy Bernstein

Gezan translates as Going Down the Mountain. I knew nothing about them, but Peelander Yellow announced on Facebook that they would be playing a show at Pianos, a nearby club, and I’m always game to check out new Japanese bands. As soon as they began playing, their energy popped. The bassist, Carlos, jumped off the stage almost immediately. He was soon followed by Kahito, the lead singer/guitarist, who flashed around exitedly. He was on the stage. He was off the stage. He was back out on the dance floor, turning and leaping, then he grabbed a stool and pulled it out into the center of the floor, and stood up on it. He was singing most of the time. His head would go down, his long black hair concealing his face, and then he was back again, his bangs and long hair framing that face. His voice actually has a cartoon aspect. It’s a higher pitch than you would expect, and there’s a sweet, but comical, element to it, too. He was dancing around like a maniac. At one point he even stood upside down. Taka Eagle, the other guitarist, regularly came out into the audience, too. It was a rowdy show. Besides rocking hard, there was a quality of madness to this band that was exciting. After merely one song, the guy who was standing beside me announced, “This is the best show I’ve ever seen!”

Kahito at Don Pedro—photo by Andy Bernstein

Kahito at Don Pedro—photo by Andy Bernstein

Though Kahito is obviously the lead singer, everyone in this band sings. During the second song, Taka Eagle began having some problems with his guitar. As it turned out, he had some degree of difficulty with his guitar in each of the three Gezan shows that I saw. This was the worst, though, he couldn’t get it to go on again. Kahito stepped away from the microphone stand with the microphone in his hand, and began singing a very sweet ballad. His odd vocal style gave it a unique twist, but his notes were mostly true. When he replaced the microphone, he played some beautiful guitar that enriched the beauty of the song even more than his vocals had. Carlos followed him tentatively, as did Shark, who seemed to be trying to play as lightly on the drums as he possibly could. Meanwhile, Taka Eagle was still trying to figure out how to get his guitar working again. It was an amazingly beautiful song, featuring both Kahito’s vocals and his guitar playing. The beauty of this ballad was impressive, but perhaps even more surprising was that a minute ago, they had been rocking it up with a crazed enthusiasm. The range of this band was staggering. After finishing with the ballad, Kahito handed his guitar to Taka Eagle, and performed the rest of the set as a lead singer. They went back to rocking, crazed rocking, and outings into the audience were a frequent occurrence.

Gezan: Carlos, Kahito, Shark and Taka Eagle—photo by Andy Bernstein

Gezan: Carlos, Kahito, Shark and Taka Eagle—photo by Andy Bernstein

After the last show I saw, I talked with Kahito, who has a solo act featuring his ballads called Kahito The People. I mentioned that they hadn’t done any ballads at all that night. “We never know what we’re going to do when we get on stage.” he said. “We might do heavy metal. We might do hard rock. We might do punk, or ballads, or noise, we never know.” The band is certainly versatile. The rhythm section is impressive and strong. Carlos makes regular runs out into the audience, while his fingers run up and down the neck of his bass guitar. Shark, the drummer, is solid, and keeps a strong and diverse beat supporting the powerful aggression of the band. He’s the only one who doesn’t occasionally run out into the audience, but like the rest of the band, he does do background vocals.

Gezan at Pianos—photo by Paul Wheeler

Gezan at Pianos—photo by Paul Wheeler

 

 

Every night of the three nights I saw them, at one point Kahito stopped the music and presented a message to the audience. My favorite of the three was at the end of the first night at Pianos when Kahito announced, “We are Gezan! We are from Japan! We are going to change music! We are going to change Japan! We are going to change the world! We are Gezan!” Then they left the stage. It was obvious that he believed it, and after seeing that set, even if you didn’t quite believe it yourself, you wished the best for them, and kind of hoped that that Gezan dream would come true. Who knows what kind of magical world they might invent?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf1U-LebCSQ

—Paul Wheeler (Former writer and creator of RockofJapan.com)

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