Kansai Scene Magazine


Heavy Trash

Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion) & Matt Verta-Ray

Jan 14

@ Club Quattro, Osaka

Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray's bands The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Madder Rose had been touring together and so after back stage jam sessions became part of the daily schedule it was no surprise that these two would eventuality get around to putting something together as a solid studio and live unit.

Jon Spencer started out with the band Pussy Galore in the mid eighties though he is better known as guitarist and growling vocalist of the exceptionally successful and cult followed Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Verta-Ray, who has been called the Canadian master of twang guitar, had previously been bassist for New York band Madder Rose as well as guitar for punk group Speedball Baby.

The duo's first album was released in 2005 simply named Heavy Trash and was followed last year with the 15-track release Going Way Out With Heavy Trash.

Anyone unfamiliar with the music of these two great musicians can expect raw edged guitar fuelled rockabilly blues; live they deliver a dynamic performance not to be forgotten.

Time: 6pm • Entry: ¥5,000 • Tel: 06-6281-8181 • Genre: Rockabilly Rock Blues

Keri Noble

US folk-pop singer-songwriter

Jan 14

@ Billboard Live, Osaka

A romantic piano playing singer songwriter sometimes compared to the likes of Norah Jones (in fact there is a link in that both artists have worked with producer Arif Mardin, who produced Jones's successful album Come Away With Me and was also executive producer on Noble's debut album).

The jazz laced pop artist, or as one critic described her "a pop singer who has been affected by jazz", grew up listening to Christian music, which is not surprising bearing in mind that her father is a priest. Born in Texas in 1977 Keri Noble also cites a major influence on her musical orientation as Joni Mitchell after being given a copy of Mitchell's classic 1971 album Blue she became an instant addict of Joni Mitchell's music.

Noble eventually began performing her own music in and around the coffee houses of Detroit, accompanying herself on electric keyboard before landing a break to move further afield and finally signed a major recording contract with Manhattan/EMI Records in 2003. From here her debut album Fearless was released in March 2004.

Time: 6:30pm/9:30pm • Entry: ¥4,500-¥6,500
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Genre: Jazz

Zappa Plays Zappa

Concert Tour of The Music of Frank Zappa
Dweezil Zappa with Steve Vai & Ray White

Jan 21

@ Zepp, Osaka

Zappa Plays Zappa is a concert tour by the son of the late great Frank Zappa, Dweezil. The tour has been running (with a few breaks) since 2006 across Europe, Canada and America. Offering a selection of the great man's music from the 60s through to the 80s, the band comprises of young newcomer musicians as well as some more experienced members who fans will no doubt recognize by name if not by face as ex-Frank Zappa band cohorts. The tour has also been joined by guitarist Steve Vai and soul vocalist/blues guitarist Ray White.

In his day Frank Zappa was so much more than a musician, he was an entertainer with a passion for the visual as much as the audio. One journalist described him as "an image, not so much of a man, but of sheer musical lunacy. At first listen, Zappa's discography consists of a bizarre combination of toilet humor, 50s doo-wop, free jazz and heavy metal guitar. But upon closer inspection, Zappa's music isn't even that easy to categorize."

Whatever anyone thinks of Frank Zappa he is undoubtedly a man that deserves to be remembered and what a better way to be remembered than having your son tour the world playing your music?

Time: 7pm • Entry: ¥8,000 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 • Genre: Rock/Experimental

Suzanne Vega

US folk-pop singer-songwriter

Jan 22

@ Club Quattro, Osaka

Ask your average music fan to name a Suzanne Vega song and no doubt you'll get the reply 'Luka'. The international hit that put Vega in to the public eye, released in 1987 and taken from her second album Solitude Standing was a very strong song both musically and lyrically about and written from the point of view of a battered child.

Born in Santa Monica, California in 1959 to a German- Swedish mother and Scottish-English-Irish father Suzanne Vega started playing regular jam sessions in Greenwich Village before landing a record deal in 1984.

Vega's music hasn't really changed in the twenty years that she's been a professional artist. With roots in folk she has taken on board influences from pop and jazz (and I'm sure she would cite other genres as well).

Not only is her vocal identifiable in a second, unique and smooth, but lyrically Vega is known for producing wonderfully poetic verse, such as these lines from the song 'As You Are Now' 'I will take up all your tears, Salty tissues through the years, Spread them in the sun to dry, Diamonds from each time you cry'. There really is no one quite like Suzanne Vega..

Time: 7pm • Entry: ¥8,000 • Tel: 06-6281-8181 • Genre: Folk-Pop

Live Listings January

Chris Duarte

1/6 @ Big Cat, Osaka
6pm • ¥4,200–¥4,500
Tel: 06-6882-3224 • Blues Rock Guitar


1/7–9 @ Billboard Live, Osaka
6:30pm/9:30pm ¥6,900/¥8,900
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Sixties Nostalgia

Axe Riverboy

1/8 @ Club Quattro, Osaka
7pm • ¥5,800 • Tel: 06-6281-8181
Folk Rock


1/9 @ Club Quattro, Osaka
7:30pm • ¥4,225/¥5,250
Tel: 06-6233-8888 • J-Rock

Avenged Sevenfold

1/9 @ Namba Hatch, Osaka
7pm • ¥6,300 • Tel: 06-6233-8888 • Metal


1/9-13 @ Osaka Jo Hall, Osaka
9th-10th • 7pm/11th-13th 5pm
¥9,000-¥30,000 • Tel: 06-6233-8888 • J-Rock

Marlene & Masato Honda

1/10-11 @ Billboard Live, Osaka
6:30pm/9:30pm ¥6,400/¥8,400
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Jazz Vocal & Sax

Alan Holdsworth

1/10 @ Big Cat, Osaka
7:30pm ¥8,500 • Tel: 06-6233-8888 • Fusion Guitar


1/12 @ Billboard Live, Osaka
6:30pm/9:30pm ¥8,500/¥10,500
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Funk/R&B

The Privates

1/13 @ Taku Taku, Kyoto
6:30pm • ¥3,000/¥3,500
Tel: 075-351-1321 • J-Rock

Keri Noble

1/14 @ Billboard Live, Osaka
6:30pm/9:30pm ¥4,500/¥6,500
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Female Vocal

Heavy Trash

1/14 @ Club Quattro, Osaka
6pm • ¥5,000 • Tel: 06-6281-8181
Rock (featuring Jon Spencer)

Backstreet Boys

1/15-16 @ Osaka Jo Hall, Osaka
7pm ¥6,800/¥7,300 • Tel: 06-6539-5569 • Boy Band

Bon Jovi

1/16 @ Kyocera Dome, Osaka
7pm • ¥9,000/¥10,000 • Tel: 06-6341-4502 • Rock

Dark Tranquility & The Haunted

1/16 @ Big Cat, Osaka
7pm • ¥6,800/¥7,300 Tel: 06-6539-5569 • Metal


1/19, 1/20 @ Zepp, Osaka
19th • 5:30pm/20th • 3:30pm
¥6,300 • Tel: 06-6357-4400 • Vocal

Sufjan Stevens

1/21 @ Club Quattro, Osaka
7pm ¥5,800 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 • Singer Songwriter

Dweezil Zappa with Steve Vai & Ray White

1/21 @ Zepp, Osaka
7pm • ¥8,500 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 • Rock

Kula Shaker

1/21 @ Big Cat, Osaka
7pm • ¥6,500 • Tel: 06-6535-5569 • Rock

Suzanne Vega

1/22 @ Club Quattro, Osaka
7pm • ¥8,000 • Tel: 06-6281-8181 • Singer Songwriter

Sheena Easton

1/30-31 @ Billboard Live, Osaka
6:30pm/9:30pm • ¥7,500-¥9,500
Tel: 06-6342-7722 • Female Pop Vocal

Celine Dion

3/11-12 @ Kyocera Dome, Osaka
7pm • ¥6,000-¥15,000
Tel: 06-6362-7301 • Female Vocal

Compiled by Phillip Jackson

:: Online Articles


The hush-hush world of hostessing
Understanding this misunderstood business

:: feature

Maid in Japan
Maid cafes

:: special

Going once, going twice, going vroom!
Hi-tech comes to car auctions

:: profile

A leap into the unknown
Mark Richardson of Age of Jets

:: travel

Only in India


God's home
Ise Jingu, Mie

:: Kansai Listings


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!

:: ART

Best exhibitions & listings


Best events & listings


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All the hot picks

:: Also in this month's mag

:: Food

Cafe Hafez, Horie


Red Lion, Higashi Shinsaibashi


Best festivals & listings


New releases & recommendations


Best films & cinema listings


What's in a label?


Size matters
The Asus Eee PC 701 - super mini computer