Last Night: Asobi Seksu Sound Even Better Unplugged

Asobi Seksu played at the Triple Door on Wednesday, January 20.
Who they are: Asobi Seksu couldn't be a less fitting name for a band that creates such sentimental dream pop (it's Japanese slang for "casual sex"). But there you have it. Fronting the band is Yuki Chikudate, a girl so petite and precious that you wouldn't bat an eye if she told you she sleeps in a jewelry box.

Why this show was a big deal: Influenced by My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star, this New York group employs lush instrumentation, distortion, and breathy vocals on its lovelorn melodies. But they promised to play an acoustic show at the Triple Door. It was bound to be intriguing to see, when stripped of heavy studio effects, the music still held its charm.

The crowd: What crowd? I was surprised by the poor turnout, given that the band usually plays at - and packs - venues like Chop Suey and Neumos. Do hipsters not venture downtown?

The show: Fucking ethereal - can I use those two words together? The band played acoustic renditions of material off their albums Citrus and Hush, as well as a fantastic cover of Hope Sandoval's "Suzanne." The intense yearning in Chikudate's girlish voice came across marvelously, making it so it didn't matter if you couldn't translate all the song lyrics (alternately in Japanese and English). You felt what she meant.

Highlight: Chikudate shared an anecdote with the crowd about going into the forest with her bandmates to do shrooms--an experience that went well until they found a bird with a broken neck. They ran it over with a car to save it from suffering and well, things just went down hill from there. "I started tripping the fuck out. I felt like the trees hated me," Chikudate admitted. On a more positive note, it was during that trip that they created the bittersweet love song "Thursday." Its easily the band's best song and when performed last night, in a slowed down and simplified state, it becomes a lustrous homage to French pop. Gorgeous.

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