If you're Japanese, you probably need no introduction to Sherbets. You already know Sherbets as the four-piece rock band fronted by Kenichi Asai. Asai's bands AJICO, Jude and Blankey Jet City have all contributed to his rock hero status in Japan.
If you're not Japanese - and let's face it, if you were, you would probably be reading the Japanese part of this site - then I suppose you'ree just receiving the introduction you need. According to rock legend, Asai eschewed life as a bike gang member in order to become a rock star. His bad-boy persona (you know, leather pants, shirt half-undone, sunglasses at night) was part of the mystique.
Asai didn't disappoint when he took the Orange Court stage (though apparently he lent the sunglasses to rock hottie keyboardist/guitarist Qumico Fucci). The Fuji crowd was enthusiastic as the band took the stage, and an especially vocal pocket of fans near the front made their presence known.
Sherbets began with a few mid-tempo numbers, which kind of surprised me. It certainly pointed to the substance behind all the Asai hype. While their opening song was greeted by hoots and hollers, the second one's soft opening was greeted by such silence that his vocals seemed more intense, as though he were singing right in your ear. When he brought the rock, though, it was suitably introduced by the sound of a motorcycle engine. The first out and out rocker of the set was highlighted by some stark white lighting design, and the visual was as cool as Asai's image demanded.
Considering that image, Asai seemed subdued - but that's meant as a compliment. Instead of posing it up, he merely played, paid attention to his guitar, and left the rock hero image more or less behind (except for the outfit). Though visually interesting, it was a bare-bones no-nonsense kind of rock show, not style over substance, which was to his credit.
photos by Miyuki Samata
Reported by James Tennant (2008.07.26 / 13:11)