Most musicians want to be a part of pop culture.
In many ways, Tokyo’s Pizzicato Five are pop culture.
The trio played a pair of rare, sold-out concerts at the Roxy last week, and at the latter show the group drew on a seemingly unlimited number of musical, social and political reference points to create a haltingly unique performance that was quite unlike any other recent music event in Los Angeles.
With a non-stop barrage of visual stimuli flashing on a large screen at the rear of the stage, the three cast a magic spell over the curious attendees, taking an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach that was consistently enchanting.
Stunning singer Maki, who doubles as a model back home, struck a variety of glamorous poses throughout the 70-minute show. Her costumes included a jazz club chanteuse for the fairy-tale pop of “Baby Love Child” and a feather-covered swinger during “Go Go Dancer.” Her sugary-sweet vocals consistently out-sang her peers, while her stage presence out-vogued even Madonna.
Much of the music performed was taken from the group’s first American release , “Made in USA” (Matador), a collection that spans the musical world by making such disparate styles as ’40s big-band, ’70s disco and ’90s techno seem like kindred approaches.
Backing Maki were the group’s brains, guitarist/sampler Yasuharu Konishi and bassist/ringleader Keitaro Takanami, a pair of performers who took to the Roxy stage’s spotlight like a couple of moths to a flame.