Not to be confused with Up-Tight‘s 2004 release of a similar name, “Live at Lucrezia” is a thoroughly entertaining and well-filmed DVD– a happy first for label Last Visible Dog and the these Japanese psych-rockers themselves.
Although the “Live at” portion of the title suggests an actual live gig with an audience, this DVD features the three-piece straddling a line between music video and and a fully-live performance, playing for an equal number of camera-wranglers intent on providing a bit of their own art to the mix. At first, the “Cinema Variete” crew keep things simple. A bit of disco ball, liquid lights— but otherwise, just a simple shot of highly-photogenic vocalist Tomoyuki Aoki doing his thing. It isn’t long that the effects kick in, though. Aoki’s guitar turns to rubber, Shirahata’s hands make tracers out-of-sync with the beat, and multiple layers and camera angles pile up into a frenetic visual dance. Thankfully, and much like Up-Tight’s playing, these visual tricks are tightly-controlled and purposeful. At times, the overuse of lens flare gets a bit bothersome, but it’s hardly the worst mistake that could have been made.
As for Up-Tight, I had only known them from the inclusion of their music in the “Invisible Pyramid” 6-CD set from a couple years back. In that setting, I’m sorry to say that they were easy for me to overlook, bewildered as I was by so many intriguing artists and songs. “Live at Lucrezia” has fortunately given me a more dedicated chance to meet these artists. Up-Tight’s focus on definite songs also helps; I was fearing the affair might be an hour-long plunge into a formless acid jam. While these have their place, it’s rarely the best way to encounter a musician for the first time! A display of untempered jamming most likely would not have produced such an emotional and musical range, either. “Day Dream Believer” opens strong, quickly building into a fairly aggressive workout. “Cool Eyes” and “Never Come Morning” explore more subdued territory, from near-ambient to pulsing drones. “Sweet Sister,” probably my favorite of the four, drops unexpectedly out of a wonderfully rhythmic orbit into a free-time noise melange; jarring at first, but utterly appropriate.
Recommended! “Live at Lucrezia” is available on Last Visible Dog Records as [LVD DVD 126].