San Jose Taiko & Bangerz
JI: A Common Pulse
Review by Ross Anthony

I love this venue - roomy, yet cozy, professional, yet warm. And this particular show - pleasant, and entertaining, yet still ripe for some improvement. Let's start with the positives. Several of the numbers were very good. The big band jazz piece had the place toe-tapping. The Djs and Taiko performers were swinging in the same groove. Though the brass was pre-recorded, it was still crisp. One of the Djs brought the piece up to date by scratching a new feel to a muted-trumpet sample. Cool! This piece was alive, spirited and infectious. Perhaps it would have been wise to open with it, since the two or three openers lacked the connection between the two groups. Physically, the Djs were located in the back, with the Taiko performers in the front. They shared a tempo, but weren't really communicating during these first few pieces. Fortunately, that awkwardness evaporated when the DJ announced a piece that resulted from a more organic jam between a DJ and a single Taiko member. The two finally showed the kind of musical sharing, listening and communicating I was looking for. From this point on, all of these talented musicians started to jell. Additionally, I greatly enjoyed the two independent pieces. That is to say, when the Taiko rested, and the Djs rocked the place. And then the Djs rested and the Taiko players banged the house down. The short show could have benefited from a couple more like that.

Taiko brought me to the show in the first place, while the creative addition of the Djs drew my curiosity. That said, an unintended consequence of the mix, is that the silence between Taiko strikes is lost, and with it, perhaps, some of the beautifully powerful impact of Taiko. Still, I'm a fan of fusion. So, here are a few suggestions for these talented artists: Don't be shy with the volume of the Taiko - dial it up. Some of the drums felt weak or even lost in the mix. With regards to lighting, most of the pieces began with a solid color backlit-backdrop that silhouetted the players. This created a mysterious and intriguing mood. But as soon as the song began, the main lights lit the stage and the players, thus extinguishing that mood. So, try playing at least a few pieces completely in the silhouette. In which case, you may want to raise the Djs stage even higher to keep them distinct. Lastly, a guest dancer or a guest singer -- would really be nice. I realize the costs to put on a show like this are already likely maxing out, but how about inviting a local favorite? For example, this beautiful venue, the Carpenter Center, sits on the Cal State Long Beach Campus. The school must have a grad student vocalist who would be happy to belt out a song or two in exchange for X tickets for her family and friends. The same could be said for a student dancer. Actually, some break dancing would really have been a great way to send us home.

The Carpenter is a lovely venue, large and airy, but quite cozy. It's situated on CSULB's campus near the music school. Arrive early and listen to the talent as you stroll passed the practice rooms.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • 2016 Copyright ©JI: A Common Pulse, Review based on the January 30th, 2016 performance at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center in Long Beach, CA.
  • Starring San Jose Taiko & Bangerz.

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Friday, 05-Feb-2016 10:30:28 PST