Published Jul 16, 2012As Japan's Osaka Monaurail took the stage for what would be one of their first-ever North American performances, it was clear that Halifax was about to witness an unusual spectacle.
Formed as a university cover group in 1992, Osaka Monaurail is a nine-piece, all-Japanese funk band fronted by the charismatic Ryo Nakata. Commanding the stage like a modern-day James Brown, Nakata and his band of dexterous musicians took attendees on a journey to the '60s, grunting his way through hits from the Godfather of Soul and performing standards from funk's notable luminaries. Guitarists Dan Hayami and Yuichi Ikeda shredded through an instrumental cover of the Temptations' "Here I Come" as the sparse crowd danced ecstatically, before delving into a set of originals off their recent album, State of the World.
The group put on an enthusiastic show, as the four-piece horn section twirled their instruments and performed choreographed dances, while bandleader Nakata showed the crowd how to do his favourite dance move, "The Funky Chicken." As the show came to a close, the band headed for the merch table to meet their new fans and sign albums. At this rate, they'll be winning over North American audiences in no time.