Brown Sugar (D'angelo cover)
Love Song
Cubic Glass
We Are All


22nd October 2011
Written by Rachel Yarwood
Photography by Lorna Ransome

Walking up to the 'Underbelly' in London's Hoxton you are faced with two doors. The first will take you to the main club whereas the one to the right will take you to the basement bar where the fundraising for "Aid for Japan" is being held tonight. Lo:Fi would be the musical headliners in support of the charity, and after inspirational speeches (namely from Akemi Solloway who has been travelling across the UK to show how her charity works and what she herself commits to), heart breaking slide shows and an introductory performance by UK based Unshin, the band would begin their generous set at around 10:30pm. 

Every corner, table and chair are filled as the audience look towards the stage. The combination of the venue, the company, and the modern rock jazz of Lo:Fi's music seems to diffuse the previous seriousness of the issue of why we are all there. The atmosphere tonight now becoming more of the relaxed and sociable night out, compared to that of a concert or gig, the only thing that is missing from this scene is the now unfamiliar cloud of cigarette smoke that, in days gone by, would be only too common for a place like this.

Sure enough, as Lo:Fi begins, the element of soul and jazz is clear.

"Realise", the first song to be played combines a smooth piano and bass introduction along with a clear, just as fluent drum beat to compliment the ambiance of the night.

As Hirose ("5") begins with the vocals, an aspect of hip hop is introduced, which through out the night shows us that he has a perfect capability to use both soul in harmonies and also rap. To add to this, we also have session and guest guitarist Dan Baker, who expertly contributes to Lo:Fi's music tonight by throwing in some fantastic and neat riffs.

Lo:Fi not only give us a taste of their own material, but also cover a couple of songs, namely "Brown Sugar" by R'n'B and Soul artist D'Angelo which they do with fantastic precision but still adding a little of their own flair to the song as well.

Continuing with the more upbeat element the band introduce their next song "Love Song". From the on-set you can feel that "Love Song" is going to dramatically add some funk to the sound, and sure enough, there really does not need to be any encouragement for some of the people here to set their glasses down and dance as the mood increasingly becomes more and more relaxed.

"Live" then takes things a little smoother, beginning with a downbeat and beautiful introduction. It would certainly have added a little calm to the atmosphere if it were not for the chatty and excited buzz of the audience. However, as the drums enter, followed closely by Hirose's vocals, Nori's soothing jazz on the keyboards is ousted once more switching to the hip hop element again.

Hirose's vocals are exceptionally clear, and have been so far this evening, complimenting the dreamy tempo and rhythm of this song whilst the harmonies of the accompanying vocals work perfectly together and add some charming melody to the chorus.

"Higher", the closing song of the night, begins with another beautiful keyboard arrangement which continues through out. Again this is balanced wonderfully by the additional beat of the drums and deep soulful rhythm from the bass. Moreover, the lyrics offering a powerful lasting message of hope and togetherness, brings the event to a climatic finish.

As part of their debut tour here in the UK, Lo:Fi's performance at the Underbelly on the 22nd of October, went remarkably well.

Fusing genres ranging from structured Jazz, to Soul, the band have really given it their all to not only entertain and perform their music with a slick passion but have also left a very stark impression on those here tonight.