9th September 2011
Written by Rachel Yarwood
Photography by Paul Yarwood

It would be nearly another hour after their scheduled time (timetables at conventions should always be loosely believed) until Unshin made their way onstage, but the wait was certainly one worth while for the small gathering of onlookers who came to see the six piece band today.

The stage was rather small, cramping the band, their instruments and equipment together. Even with this minor detail the members of Unshin, Megumi (vocals), Tobee (lead guitar), Sing (keyboard), Mike (drums), Henry (bass) and Yupo (rhythm guitar), seemed to hold a certain relaxed aura about them.

Taking position at the front of the stage, Megumi led the way with the opening instrumental on her Koto. Megumi stole our attention wholly with a beautiful, yet at the same time, strangely eerie composition, before taking us smoothly into the first full-length song "Memories and Tears".

"Memories and Tears", the third track on their debut album "Waltz for Broken Dolls", kept those who were watching positively entranced. The piano introduction, the strong and clear bass line, together with Megumi's faultless vocals, captivated with a certain serene ballad element.

Of course that was just the beginning. As the song progresses, so does the sound, reaching that pivotal crescendo along with the fantastic solo work from Tobee.

As the fourth song "Artificial Pleasures" was announced, it was at this point that the audience realised that this would not be a performance totally committed to beautiful compositions and mellow lyrics.

Unshin, changing the vibe of their music style now, invited a much more energetic atmosphere and Megumi even asking those around to join in their take on a "dance song" (which really could not have been described any better by the leading vocalist).

It seemed a shame however, that even with this fantastic jazzy, and irresistible catchy pop song, which could and possibly should have been such a highlight of the day, did not completely will the gathering to even nod their heads in time.

"Evidence", the eighth song on the set today, followed suit. This was yet another funky and upbeat piece, with the clear beat of the drums remaining excellently consistent and the rhythm from the bass especially, together they just added to the compelling quirkiness of the song.

Even with the lack of participation from the audience, Unshin remained enthusiastic, clearly enjoying themselves regardless, and performing with utmost professionalism.

We really do not miss out on anything that this band has to offer as the set takes yet another turn and Unshin return to a more mellow sound as they begin to wrap their performance up.

The last few songs, namely "For my Friend" and "Song", end Unshin's show at Alcon with stark emotion. Arguably you can say that, the music combined with the different animations, lays everything out so bare that you really have to be paying no attention at all to miss what is being conveyed.

Even without looking towards the stage, you could hear the honest and the heartfelt quality that emitted from Megumi, and the final line "Live your own life" as a message from the girl who broke the tradition and found her own path.

Unshin's live at Alcon gave those who attended just a taste of what a great fusion of culture can offer.

The Japanese influence from Megumi's lyrics, the animation, the album's storyline and the Koto meeting with the more Western pop, rock and jazz element gives Unshin as a band something of an original and exciting quality about them. All of these things put together will also make them one of those bands once seen live... never forgotten.