"We decide on stage what songs we play." That is how Go Kurosawa, the drummer of Japanese psychedelic rock band Kikagaku Moyo, explains how his group prepares for a concert. "If the crowd is silent, we'll play meditative, dreamy songs. If people are more wild, we will play more punk, garage stuff."
South Florida will have its first opportunity to check out this versatile band with two upcoming shows this weekend. The five-piece based in Tokyo is playing the east coast of America for the first time. Its members have been amazed by the crowds. "In Japan, we only play in front of 150 people. The reaction here is much bigger. How they take in rock 'n' roll here is much bigger. They appreciate it much more here in America than in any other country. We knew that, but when we saw how they enjoyed it, we really appreciated it."
Kikagaku Moyo, which is Japanese for "geometric patterns," started when Kurosawa and guitarist Tomo Katsurada were students in Tokyo. "We wanted it to be more than a band — to be an artists' collective. Paintings, writings, theater." After meeting their bassist, Kotsuguy, they decided just to settle on music. "We liked heavy stuff like metal and '70s hard rock and folk. We wanted to put everything we listened to into our jams."
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Over the course of three albums, they've done just that, culminating in the beautiful weirdness of their latest, House in the Tall Grass. "This was our first album where we had a clear image before we recorded. To make it, we took a trip to Northern Japan in the winter. We rented a cottage and took a walk in the snow every morning. We wanted to create a story for people listening to the album."
As they tour the U.S. and see parts of the country for the first time, Kurosawa says Kikagaku Moyo is finding more inspiration. "The drive from the Midwest is very special. The vast fields, prairies, mountains, the nature — it's really inspiring to look out the window. Now we're in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. We're parked by a church on the grass and the leaves are changing orange, yellow... We've enjoyed every single day." He says this as if he were transcribing lyrics for another one of the band's psychedelic songs.
Kikagaku Moyo. 9 p.m. Friday, October 28, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St, Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is $10.
Moonfest with Kikagaku Moyo, Best Coast, and others. 8 p.m. Saturday, October 29, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-832-9999. Tickets cost $15 at ticketfly.com.