Category Archives: Live Music Venue

Three – No Wait – Two Acts @ Nega・Posi ~ Live Music in Kyoto


A week ago I paid a visit to live music venue NEGA・POSI. It’s been quite a while since I was last there, but my visit confirmed that it is still a great spot to tap into the local music scene here in Kyoto. For 1,200 yen I got to see three acts; one I knew and two I didn’t. All were charming, talented and quirky in their own special way. I’ll let the music speak for itself. Details of how to find NEGA・POSI can be found here. Check out their scheduled performances here. Continue reading

Kris Roche Solo Show @ Jittoku

Our friend, the singer/songwriter Kris Roche, is back in town and playing a solo show at the legendary live house Jittoku this Wednesday (17th August). Kris says, “Jittoku is going to be solo acoustic show with some banter about my travels. I’m planning on two shorter sets so that people can socialize and just hang out.”

Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday 17th August
Time: 7pm
Tickets: 1500yen
Location: Jitokku. Situated on the east side of Omiya, north of Marutamachi. Here is a map.

If you are unfamiliar with Kris’ music, you can download both albums for free right here:

You can also check out some videos of Kris in action below:

Three Singers @ Slow Hand

Slow Hand is a tiny little basement bar/live house situated on the south-east corner of Marutamachi and Karasuma. When they don’t have live music the bar is dedicated to ’70s music. But they have a lot of live music. Last Thursday, I went to see our old friend Okuda Satoko and two other singer/songwriters play there. Some of you may remember Satoko from her wonderful performance at the “Voices for Umekoji” event. This is her latest song (and I think it’s lovely). Just click on the picture to see the video.

Okuda Satoko ~ Click on the picture to see her performance.

Satoko will be performing at two more events this month: the ヤンバルの静寂・巷の轟音 event at Urbanguild on the 16th, and at an acoustic event at RAG on the 28th. Please check the links for details.

After Satoko’s performance last Thursday, a visiting American singer (on his way to Thailand apparently), named Frank Schweikhardt played a nice set of original, moody tunes with his backpacker guitar. If you like what you hear in the next video you can download his album here.

Frank Schweikhardt ~ Click on the picture to see the video.

Finally, the host of the event  was a guy named Kurimoto Hideaki. To be frank, this guy, when he speaks, is a little awkward. One might even say odd.  But then defying all expectation, he wraps  his hands around his guitar and starts singing – and he’s transformed! Really great stuff! Click on his picture to see his video.

Kurimoto Hideaki ~ Click on the link to see the video

The Legend of UrBANGUILD

Let me tell you a story, about a place called UrBANGUILD… It’s a kind of fairytale, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. And it all began in another place. A place that I like to call cafe underpants.

The 1928 Building. This art deco fantasy houses a (currently) very popular cafe in the basement. Fans of UrBANGUILD might sense a certain familiarity in the interior design.

Once upon a time there was an honest carpenter named Jiro. One day, Jiro was hired by a man of property to design and build a cafe.  Jiro was a very fine carpenter and designer, and a very hard worker too, and so in no time at all he created a very fine cafe indeed. The owner of the cafe was very pleased with the work that Jiro had done and asked him to manage his new establishment. They called it independants. Under Jiro’s stewardship this cafe independants became a very special place: a place where musicians and artists could meet and freely experiment, and it became a true centre of the Kyoto avant garde! Unfortunately it didn’t make any money… and naturally the owner of the cafe began to worry. Jiro’s passion was for art, not money – but a cafe can’t continue if it doesn’t make a profit! Sadly the owner told Jiro that he had to go. In the real world, that’s just the way things are. Sadly, we just don’t live in fairytales…

ryotaro is the booking manager at UrBANGUILD. He told me this story, so I know it's true.

But then something magical happened. Every single member of staff at cafe independants told Jiro that they wanted to continue working with him. They wanted to recreate the same kind of special artistic centre with him in another place. They pooled all their funds together and they found and built another cafe/bar/performance centre on Kiyamachi. They called it UrBANGUILD (!) and having put all their money into it – well they endured some difficult times! But today, that place, that centre devoted to performance and art and music and the free pursuit of self expression is THRIVING! Well, to be honest, it still doesn’t make much money. Jiro, talented and hardworking carpenter that he is, supports it with his own income. And the staff still work there because they value what they do, not for any misguided notions of profit.

But UrBANGUILD is thriving, because it is ALIVE! Over the last twelve months or so, I have visited and revisited this place and I am ADDICTED. For one thing, I love UrBANGUILD for it’s acceptance.

Something very special indeed - click the image to read more about this one.

You  get some acts here that are mediocre,  others that could be interesting but are a little self-involved, and you get some TERRIBLE acts here too! But they are all accepted – and applauded. And then, pretty much every time, you get something very, very special indeed. Something you simply wouldn’t see anywhere else. Because only a place like UrBANGUILD would allow it to happen.

Another reason I love UrBANGUILD, is the inclusive sense of community. It’s easy to make friends here. Come regularly and some faces will become familiar to you – and you to them. You will become drawn into discussion. You will become part of the scene.

Tomorrow, UrBANGUILD is throwing a New Year’s party entitled “Velvet Moon”. I invite you to attend. There are some Deep Kyoto favorites performing: the dancers Bridget Scott and 袋坂ヤスオ, accordionist ryotaro and the mad scientist of sound mr. Sseeaann Rrooee.

Bridget Scott

And then there are other more intriguing things like Karikatura, a “gypsy, reggae, rumba, flamenco, ska, world, groove, band” from Brooklyn. Here are the details! Check it out! Enjoy!


The Perfomers:

Karikatura (gypsy, reggae, rumba, flamenco, ska, world, groove)



Bridget Scott (dance)

Yangjah (dance) with
Jerry Gordon

Sseeaann Rrooee (sound artist)

袋坂ヤスオ (dance) & ryotaro (accordion)

OPEN: 18:00 / START: 19:00
Tickets in advance:1500 yen (includes one drink)

I almost forgot to mention, they do good izakaya style grub here too. The vegetarian curry is awesome!

On the door: 2000 yen


To find it, from Sanjo Dori go down Kiyamachi Dori (this is the narrow street running alongside Takase stream) UrBANGUILD is on the east side (left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) after approximately 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here’s a map.
Tel: 075-212-1125  Facebook page here.

“Children of Water” & Morphic Jukebox @ Jittoku

Last Friday I attended the Kyoto premiere of Roger Walch‘s new movie “Children of Water” at Jittoku. The venue was a legendary live house in Kyoto (Japan’s oldest in fact) that has been open since 1973. Like the equally famous TakuTaku the building is a converted saka-gura – a kind of traditional sake warehouse. This was my first time to visit this fine old venue.

Jittoku is open 17:30 - 24:00. Live music every night between 19:00 - 21:00. Situated on the east side of Omiya, north of Marutamachi. Click on the picture for an access map and check the website for irregular holidays:

Folk rock funsters Morphic Jukebox have a couple of songs in the movie’s soundtrack, so they performed a live set before the movie was shown. I’ve put some videos of their performance at the end of this post.

Roger’s movie was an interesting and moving story about different and sometimes clashing cultural attitudes towards child-rearing, and abortion as they play out in a particular cross-cultural relationship. Continue reading

The Wild Cards at Tadg’s

Just a taste of Friday night at Tadg’s. I don’t know a lot about these guys, other than that they play fairly regularly at Tadg’s (and what I’ve read here), but they do play some sweet strings – and I want to hear them again.

Tadg’s Irish Bar and Restaurant

The Home of Craft Beer in Kyoto

Meet the family: Jimmy, Tadg, Mika, and Ben.

Four years since it first opened, the Irish pub formerly known as Mc Loughlin’s has been renamed as Tadg’s. Not a big change really, as I think everyone was calling it that anyway. I’ve written previously about this pub; its friendly hospitality and the fantastic views over the river and city. And Tadg’s cooking is also justifiably renowned; he uses locally grown organic vegetables in his many fine creations and the menu features an impressive vegan section. All that aside though, this bar’s most impressive feature is the selection of craft beers: Rogue, Ise Kadoya, Minoh, Yeti Imperial Oak and Victory at Sea… I had a snifter of the latter last night; a fine coffee flavored porter with hints of bitter chocolate like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. Absolutely gorgeous. Continue reading

International Love Cabaret V. 4

Many thanks to Mitsu Salmon for organizing a wonderful event at Urban Guild on Sunday. Actually, this was my first time to visit Urban Guild. That’s a great venue!


The event itself began awesomely enough with gold painted ladies ushering us into a dreamlike world of butoh, electronic beats and tomatoes…

(I still don’t get the tomatoes). Continue reading

Blue Note

A couple of weeks ago, jazz singer Allison Adams Tucker invited me to Blue Note to see her live performance there. It was a great show but also an excellent opportunity to check out this legendary live music venue. I spoke to the current master Ohigashi-san. A mild-mannered chap, he goes by the nickname of  Chooper-san (after blues musician Al Kooper), and is as Allison put it “a very cool cat”. IMG_1751 Blue Note has been open for 47 years now and has seen a fair number of famous musicians walk through its doors, either to perform or to kick back after performing elsewhere. Continue reading

Folk Music Workshop @ Irish Pub Gnome

img_0566Last weekend’s traditional music workshop at Gnome was a great success and so it looks like there will be many more in the future. Felicity Greenland writes:

Japanese and foreigners all singing together in a cool atmosphere… It’s hard to explain without sounding crass, but really, it’s a very special bonding thing to sing together – everyone has had hard times with themselves and each other, but when you sing together all that really does melt away. Plus, there were a few people who came who are really studying hard at English, or guitar, fiddle  or bodhran playing, and want to have a chance to make their studies real. This kind of event really works for them – some of them might play with us in the future and so their efforts have now become very real for them. Let’s do more – please come and tell your mates about it even if you can’t come yourself. Kyoto is the origin and hub of Irish music in Japan – with your energetic contribution it could also become the origin and hub of the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh singalong too! LINK

Keep your eyes either here on D. K. or on the Gnome Live Schedule page for the next event. In the meantime there’s a video of a nice Gaelic song, Siúil a Rúin, after the jump. Continue reading