WHAT: Play (Comedy, Music, etc.)
WHERE: Charles Playhouse, Boston, MA (map)
WHEN: 30th Mar, 12 (ongoing)
MY STORY IN A NUTSHELL:
- I’ve heard a lot about how good Blue Man Group is, but no one seems to be able to tell me what they’re about. After watching the show, I can’t say I can describe them perfectly either.
- In short, they combine comedy with technology, music, art, giant glowing balls and a lot of toilet paper. It’s a rave dance party as much as it’s fantastic theatre.
- Blue Man Group has been around since 1991. They are innovative in trying to make sense and make fun of the world around us.
- This is a truly creative and interactive masterpiece. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. I very highly recommend getting your hands on a hot ticket if you get the chance. It may well be the best thing you can do with your evening.
- My interview with one of the Blue Men will be coming soon so stay tuned!
MY FULL STORY: It’s not often that I walk into a theatre completely unsure what to expect. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Blue Man Group, but nobody seems to be able to tell me exactly what they’re about. After seeing them, I now understand why, because I am unable to give a satisfactory description of their show either. All I can say is that they are awesome, but I’ll try to elaborate.
Basically, it is a two-hour show where your senses are overwhelmed – in a good way. It combines comedy, technology, music, art, giant glowing balls and an insane amount of toilet paper. What started off as a civilised evening at the theatre turned into a giant rave party by the end, although the fact that the front few rows of the audience were given ponchos at the start should have set off warning bells. All I’ve got to say is that I am eternally indebted to the people who cleaned up the place afterwards.
Blue Man Group was first performed Off Broadway in New York in 1991, which means that it shares my birth-year. Since then they have expanded to occupy theatre spaces around America and places as far flung as Berlin and Tokyo.
It’s not hard to see why they are so well-loved. Painted blue from head to fingertips and dressed in black tracksuits, the three men continually poke fun at each other as well as the audience. Their way of trying to make sense of the world we live in is innovative and hilarious. Whether they were ‘paint-drumming’, strolling in and out of ‘GiPads’ (giant versions of iPads), or stuffing gumballs down their throats and spitting them out on a canvas, they had a way of keeping us all in stitches throughout.
Plus these guys are all genuinely very talented people. I’m amazed by how much they can communicate with just a look or a gesture. And their drumming skills are virtually super-human.
On top of everything, Blue Man Group also succeeds in achieving the very difficult task of creating truly interactive theatre. Even though I was wedged in the corner backseat, I still felt as involved with what’s going on onstage as those in the front row.
This is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. If you are in any of the cities that they are currently performing at, make sure you grab a ticket and experience it for yourself. It may well be the best thing you can do with your evening.
* ** *** ** *
Click here to read my interview with the lovely Greg Balla, and let him tell you all about what it’s like to be bald and blue!
Kaito was having a day off. He wore no guy-liner, no studded choker, and no black nail varnish. In fact, sitting demurely on a sofa at Costa as he sheepishly eyed the decadent glass of festive hot chocolate before him, he looked almost shy. That said, however, there’s still something about him that unmistakably screams ‘I’m A Rockstar’. And a rockstar he is. As the guitarist of the London-based Japanese rock (J-rock) band Esprit D’air, which got together at the beginning of 2010, Kaito has some serious onstage presence.
The four band members – Yoshi (vocals), Kaito (guitar), Erisu (bass) and Daishi (drums) – met at a J-rock concert in London a couple years ago and their mutual passion for music inspired them to start working together. They took some time to find their sound but have since grown from strength to strength, performing at major Japan-related events such as the London MCM Expo last year. ‘When we first started there was no one else like us in England,’ recalled Kaito. ‘Our stuff is definitely not chart music – we cater to a very specific niche in the sense that people have to deliberately seek us out.’ So what do their songs sound like? Kaito thought for a while, and then replied, ‘It’s heavy but beautiful. The music is grungy and Yoshi’s voice is very smooth, and the contrast results in a sound that is really loud yet melodic.’
Esprit D’air has had one album out so far, called ‘Deai’, which loosely translates as greeting or encounter. ‘Sort of like the first hello from the band, I guess,’ grinned Kaito. The album’s concept revolves around love and betrayal, and attempts to explore a range of emotions through the songs. ‘We always put the music first. I get zapped by melodic ideas and work around them, and then Yoshi adds the lyrics after. The creative process is really important to us because we make music to express ourselves – not to become famous.’
J-rock must be his favourite genre, then? ‘Actually, I don’t really listen to that stuff very much. I started learning the guitar when I was 16, and my teacher mostly taught me blues so I did a lot of that,’ replied Kaito. ‘But I also like experimenting with different styles and see what I come up with – rock, metal…’ At this point, he noticed my expression change and I had to confess I don’t really understand metal as a genre. ‘Well, think of it like classical music played with different instruments.’ What?! Was he seriously comparing Metallica to Mozart? ‘They’re really quite similar,’ Kaito insisted. ‘Both styles focus on technicalities, like scales and things. They’re both difficult to play.’ Well now that he put it like that…
As for what exciting projects lay in store for them – the band has been releasing samples of their new tracks on YouTube recently and their next album will be out sometime next year. For now, though, they’re going to be busy touring Spain. ‘We’re off in two days time actually! We’ve toured there before and it was amazing. The money we earned barely covered our flights, but we’ve had some of our best concerts there and the crowds are amazing,’ Kaito gushed. ‘I loved it!’
We look forward to hearing more about Esprit D’air’s success in the future!
* ** *** ** *
You can find out more about the band at: