This was arguably one of the most anticipated shows of the summer. Toe hasn’t released an album in years and fans were understandably thirsty. The line to get to The Regent Theater started hours before doors even opened and by 8PM, it spanned blocks. Toe, having just landed all the way from Japan hours before, is one of the most influential instrumental rock bands in existence. I hadn’t seen them live before, but my husband owned all their records and talked about them from time to time. It was a show we couldn’t miss.
“I lined up 7 hours for this!” a happy kid beside me said as he claimed his rightful spot in front of the stage. Apart from the obvious excitement of the crowd, there was also just sheer joy at the fact that they were seeing their idols in Los Angeles. As soon as the band stepped on stage, the cheering commenced and never quite stopped from there. They cheered Yamazaki Hirokazu’s adorable attempts at addressing the audience in broken English. But on guitar, he was anything but.
Each band member carefully tended to their respective instruments and they were quite amazing to watch. Kashikura Takashi was absolutely fearless and played the drums like an extension of his body. My initial impression of Mino Takaaki was that he looked like a chill Japanese dude. On guitar? That’s probably the last thing you could say about him. Bassist Yamane Satoshi kept a low profile, but his contributions were impossible to ignore. The best thing about watching them is the fact that every member plays masterfully and with such intensity that you sometimes don’t quite know where to look. Great sounds come out of them and you just end up wondering how in the world they gathered so much talent in one package. I felt extremely lucky to be there and I wear my elbow gashes caused by some occasional moshing behind me like a badge of honor.
Japanese producer Shinya Mizoguchi aka starRo opened the show with a unique live band setting. He filled the theater with his cinematic sounds aided by talented drummer Brittany Maccarello, plus guest vocalists Christian Crow and Jarrell Perry.