Japanese rock band brings wild energy and infectious sound to Gabe’s

The Depaysement, an energetic Japanese rock band, brought dance rhythms to Gabe’s Saturday night.


Wyatt Dlouhy

The Depaysement performs at Gabe’s on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. The Depaysement are a Japanese funk-rock band. Gabe’s was the third stop on their “X-Files” tour.

Jack Howard, Arts Reporter

In a blur of neon blue and yellow stage getups, the Depaysement stormed the stage on the night of Sept. 29 at Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St.

The Japanese group performed an hourlong set of interactive dance-rock songs to be remembered for years to come by those in attendance.

The group formed in Japan in the late-2000s. Composed of brothers, Hikaru, Satoru, and Wataru Koyanagi, as well as their compatriot, Mare Nishimori, the group returned to North America for it X-Filestour starting in late September.

The band showcases a diverse sonic offering, with bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, and emphatic saxophone, the group performed a calculated, complex, and rhythmic assortment of indie-punk numbers.

Following garage-rock openers New Tribe and Doc Miller, the Depaysement, combining electronic, punk, funk, and psychedelic influences, produced an endlessly entertaining set of dance-worthy tunes.

The band began at 11 p.m., and until midnight, it sped through its energetic live show, consisting of disco and Talking Heads-inspired rock music, replete with theatrical costume changes and participatory stage banter. The band rushed to the stage in uniform, wearing neon yellow shorts, blue shirts, and wristbands in a tennis-match ensemble. It was impossible not to groove to the enticing rhythms and melodies the group dished out; nobody in attendance stood still throughout the entire set.

The group introduced its set with a sample of the “X-Files” theme and quickly segued into a whirlwind of quirky dance-punk songs.

“We are the Depaysement,” the group members chanted repeatedly, inviting the audience to join in with them.

In between tracks, the saxophonist took on the persona of Rocky Balboa and Otis Redding, encouraging the crowd to cheer him on to victory. Later in the set, the band asked audience members about, among other topics, their thoughts on the film La La Land, and their favorite fast-food restaurant (In-N-Out Burger proved to be the one).

For the show’s finale, the band invited audience members up to the stage for a dance competition. The group asked the audience who they thought deserved the honors, and awarded those accordingly. First prize was a personalized trophy, and second and third prizes were headbands belonging to the band members themselves.

The merchandise selection was about as interesting and eclectic as the set of songs they played. In addition to the usual T-shirt and album fare, the group also had several issues of comic books for sale, created by the members and their collaborators. The “We Are the Depaysement” three-part comic-book series chronicles the group’s outer-space adventures. A few of the characters in the comics even made on-stage appearances during the set in some of the costume changes.

The Depaysement brought something unique but wholly accessible to Gabe’s. Its hysterical stage antics, welcoming and collaborative attitude toward the audience, and endlessly funky numbers had everyone in attendance feeling included and jubilant.