Kikagaku Moyo 幾何学模様 blasted their geometric patterns over, under, around, and through an entire legion of enthusiastic psyche fans at Music Box on Friday, with support from Guruguru Brain labelmates Minami Deutsch 南ドイツ, making their San Diego debut. Little Italy’s Music Box proved a more than suitable venue for the return of Kikagaku Moyo, whose local following has grown substantially since their 2018 Desert Daze appearance. The band members reveled in their vantage point from the stage, looking out to the Music Box’s cavernous open space of three levels and thoroughly enjoying the effect their sounds had on the crowd.
Minami Deutsch appeared as a late addition to the lineup, but there was still plenty of time to preview their two albums (2015’s Minami Deutsch and 2018’s With Dim Light), thus building up excitement for the opener. A substantial amount of the crowd arrived early and were treated to a clinic in locked-in and looping krautrock, with each band member tuned in to the other’s subtle clues indicating up-coming tempo and groove changes. A quickly repaired issue with Kyotaro Miula’s mic didn’t seem to slow them down in the slightest, with the band modifying one of their songs on the fly to bypass the momentarily inaudible vocals and went straight back into a building break instead. Their last number had the crowd on their feet, moving to the driving beat, leaving them eager for more but ready for what would come next.
With the majority of the surveyed crowd well aware of what they had to look forward to, Kikagaku Moyo took the stage to raucous applause and palpable excitement. They started in with their usual entrance jam followed by Zo no Sendaka from their self-titled first album, with other favorites from House in the Tall Grass, Forest of Lost Children, and Masana Temples rounding out the set. A mid-performance acoustic set featured Daoud Popal taking over on drums, while Go Kurosawa stepped out from behind the kit and into the light, taking center stage to strum and sing Old Snow, White Sun and Cardigan Song, accompanied by Tomo Katsurada on cello.
Many members of the boisterous crowd came to move and while there were hints throughout the show, a full-on pit and crowd surge didn’t occur until Kikagaku Moyo’s closing number, Gatherings, was in full swing. Even then, the pit was full of smiling faces moshing back and forth, absent of malice but filled with a wild and reckless abandon brought on by the seemingly never-ending build up of Gatherings.
After the show, band members from both groups stuck around, handing out setlists, posing for photos, and signing merch for the happy fans. Kikagaku Moyo guitarist and vocalist Tomo Katsurada related a story regarding the beginnings of the group, when Moon Duo toured Japan and they were invited to support. At that time, Kikagaku Moyo was evolving from street buskers to jam band, but it wasn’t until they received the encouragement of Sanae Yamada that they began to record their songs. Five albums later, her sage advice has benefited us all. Here’s hoping for a new album and many more appearances in 2020!