The Gov, Sunday 25th November 2018
(Reviewed by John Glennie)
Fan-bloody-tastic (excuse the French)! No other way to describe Osaka Monaurail.
This Japanese band was formed by frontman Ryo Nakata 26 years ago as a ‘big band’ which has been scaled back over the years to its current 8-piece funk / soul / R&B ensemble. Osaka Monaurail made their Adelaide debut at WOMAD a few years ago.
The gig commenced with the band (minus Nakata) playing a few outstanding instrumental jazz / funk tracks to get the crowd moving. The band were immaculately presented in matching suits, shirts and ties. Then Nakata walked on stage – in his (also immaculate) shiny green suit – the whole momentum changed and the energy hit a new high. What words can I use to describe it? Fun, vibrant, fun, energetic, fun, funky, fun, high-voltage … and did I mention fun?
This guy really knows how to work a crowd and you could do nothing but dance and smile. Have to say that it was the most fun I have ever had at a concert. Nakata cleverly interacted between the band member – especially the brass section – and the crowd to ensure everyone was involved and had a great time.
The band was influenced by legends including James Brown (the band being named after his song ‘JB’s Monaurail’), Ray Charles and Bootsy Collins and they gave homage to those artists to perfection. Nakata wowed the audience with his vocals as well as boogie-woogie-style keyboards, various percussion instruments and threw in some dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger.
Mid-show they did a lengthy jam of ‘Fruit Basket’ which gave all band members the opportunity to showcase their musical skills. The brass section (saxophone, trumpet and trombone) were excellent and constantly had the crowd cheering and applauding. There were many excellent funky songs from the legends as well as their own albums including a great version of ‘(She’s a) Riptide’.
I noticed that most people left the show smiling and marvelling at the energy of it. I think anything less than a perfect score would be unjust and I will definitely watch out for their return to Adelaide. If you love to smile and dance then I urge you to do the same!