Illion @ Shepherd's Bush Empire


"This Feeling"
(Carl Barat & Friends, Coves & Dexters)
Shepherd's Bush Empire
17th March 2013
Written by Rachel Yarwood
Photography by Lorna Ransome

The promptness of this evening would be something many organisers and venues across the UK could take note of. Each act made their appearance on stage and performed for the crowd in Shepherd's Bush Empire effortlessly.
RADWIMPS' very own Yojiro Noda, marking his debut as 'Illion' here in London, began his set with just as much ease. Walking straight from the backstage, to the front, he began his set dead on 9PM for the hungry indie audience. 

Seemingly easing the crowd (those who were not here specifically for Illion) in with a choice of English sung songs, Noda started the show rather gently with the more accoustics like "Un&Do". However, "Aiwaguma" then upped the stakes, but the rows of people did not show any signs of dispersing when the Japanese lyrics took over the English. Instead the the catchy beats and the funky guitar notes seemed to keep the interest flowing and kept faces looking towards the stage and not just at the large LED backdrop either. 
"Lynch" and "Dance" then gave us into a short break between the upbeat songs offering a little bit of a ballad style now in comparison to how we began which, perhaps, could seem a little bit too early. However, thinking ahead of how the album as a whole sounds, mixing things up equally is probably the key here. Certainly after the show had come to a finish this theory makes a lot of sense. 

After this though, "Finger Print" and "Planetarian", both really aimed to bring the jazz and indie rock back to the show. "Finger Print" especially being one that you could happily have a dance to during the chorus, the increase of drums and guitar rhythms bringing the volume and funk levels to a climax, either here or listening to the record at home. For tonight though, the crowd doesn't particular seem to be in the mood for a dance but instead there are a few heads nodding to and fro to the rhythm. 
As we reach the half way marker of the show, the lights dimmed slightly, and the attention was now focused on the blue-white halo that shone around Yojiro Noda centre stage. As he rose his arm he began a series of body popping movements with a wii controller offering the only source of sound, a peculiar bubbling frequency of sound to compliment the movements Noda was performing, before an opening piano melody then took us fully into "Gamma".

In a parallel, as Noda his place in front of the piano and began "Brain Drain", one of the first tracks that fans heard of the new solo material, the performance now encouraged many on the first rows to simply watch and listen. The smoothness of the vocals, and the lovely melodies from the piano, gave off an aura of serenity that was maximised by the near silence of the venue at this point. 
With a well managed set, Illion gave a truly professional though slightly distant performance. Whether it was the atmosphere or the type of show that the festival was, there was no real interaction between the musicians themselves or with the crowd. On the other hand, whether or not the lack of eye contact and conversation was noted by any of the fans tonight, this seemed a small thing in the grand scheme of things. The level of the musical performance was conducted and executed fantastically so as Noda left the stage just as promptly as he had entered, we all knew that this debut live in the UK had been delivered with success.