Budo÷Grape @ Gullivers

28thth October 2012
Written by Rachel Yarwood
Photography by Lorna Ransome

Rescue Rescue
Heso ga na
Sutten Kororin
Systems of Romance
Otome no Price
Kiss too Shy
Aijyo Kyuraku

In perhaps one of Manchester's less mainstream venues, a dim yet friendly pub called Gulliver's, the band known as Budo Grape have journeyed from Japan to bring their 'avante garde' style of music to the UK audience. 
Tonight the band all seem in very high spirits, despite the typical Mancunian weather which greeted them as they arrived from their hotel, as they made their way onstage through the gathering crowd. 
The set starts off upbeat as lead vocalist Quminco-Grape, wasting no time, stands at the edge of the modest stage and greets us all with a chirpy "Hello Manchester! We are Budo Grape!" before the first song of the night "Rescue Rescue" kicks in with an attractively jazzy bass rhythm (Matsui) and guitar introduction (Nagai). 
Instantly we are drawn in by firstly the quirky attitude and appearance of Budo Grape, who are dressed in matching black and white checkered shirts and see through plastic ties, and secondly their upbeat and interesting take on pop rock. 
Quminco's vocals are much better appreciated in the live atmosphere; her voice and the indeed the whole band's sound is captured perfectly here in this small (and carpeted!) upstairs room of Gulliver's.
Their third song "Oasis" takes us into the pop scene even further with a very catchy and melodic opening. The energy onstage now has grown as the band (minus Taichi on drums obviously) dance along, encouraging the crowd also to dance with them, as an array of shapes and animated scenes play out on the backdrop. It becomes harder to focus your attention on either watching the odd, ever changing animations on the back wall, or submitting to the cheerful invitation from Budo Grape to simply let yourself go and have a good boogie with them.
"Systems of Romance" sees a swap in vocalists now. Nagai instead takes the lead, whilst Quminco provides the backing vocals, his voice strong and resonating above the deep and smooth bass composition and toe tapping drumbeat. 
Keyboardist Naho opens the next song ,"Otome no Price", with an upbeat and familiar (ABBA's 'Money Money Money') melody on her keyboard. This automatically grabbing attention again after the slightly more downbeat feel from "Systems of Romance", bringing the crowd back into the dancey, happy pop, sound once more with the accompanying chirpy vocals, rolling beats, bouncing rhythms and fun guitar melodies. 
The last song of the night, "FNT", will quite probably be the song that is the most memorable of the night. 
Quminco first starts off by telling us that their CD's are at the back for purchase and "... if you can't buy (our album), we can't get back to Japan!" Of course this awards her with a dose of laughter from the crowd, but she laughs along, continuing to give us a short annecdote about this song. 
"FNT", which is the abbreviation for the Japanese words translating to 'crap', 'piss' and 'spit', you can more or less understand why this song did not sell particularly well for them back home. 
Here in Manchester however, this is rather amusing and the crowd in abundant humour have no hesitation in learning the Japanese to sing along with Quminco and Naho in a brilliant finish to the show.
The performance from Budo Grape tonight was something different, something both interactive and enjoyable, which will certainly leave a positive impression on band's fans and the inquisitive music fans who came to see them. 
Not only did they deliver a decent set with vigour to spare even after the show had finished, but they even stayed a while after to chat with fans, take pictures and of course sell their cd's. So hopefully they have made enough cash to get back home, but also that they had just as good a time as those who came to party with them did.