Fujiya & Miyagi, Heaven, London

3.00

 

Brighton's Fujiya & Miyagi are about as cult a band as can be imagined, a small outfit with the fanbase to match.

What's most surprising tonight is the weight of the sound. Historically, F&M have been unprepossessing, often to the point of limpness, so it ranks as a fairly major surprise to encounter audibly meaty bass and guitars this robust. This sudden flexing is a good thing – they can be awfully wet fish.

The metronomic loops and rhythms remain, but now they're just brute enough to kick sand in bullies' faces and even stand up to the rigours of live music. That's what makes it rather a shame there's hardly anyone here at Heaven for them to show it off to.

"Knickerbocker", for instance, one of their so-to-speak hits, has piled on such a quantity of additional muscle it's practically tearing phone books in half. A Clark Kentish wisp of a song originally, it's now unrecognisably predatory. This steroidal tone pertains throughout, as though our wimpy, unassuming band nipped as one into a phonebox to slip into capes just before stepping out on stage: new songs like "Ventriloquizzing" and "Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue" also benefit from F&M's Iron Man approach to live music.

They look the same, four – sorry, chaps – quite scrawny nerds in their thirties, but they're on a warpath this evening. It's always so nice when a band outdoes itself live.

Because, let's be honest, they'll never be an important band. They do their thing, and that thing is a loungey kind of krautrock destined to appeal to a worldwide audience of about a hundred, but their cultishness is due in part to the fact that they're decent without ever really being brilliant. So to have them outplay themselves, is a pleasant experience. They may never step out of their niche, but at least they're prepared to get cosy in it.

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