Uwajima is such a pretty little town. Hardly a skyline to its name, it is surrounded by mountains with the leaves still changing their color and down one of its main strips in the downtown area there’s tall spindly palm trees to give it a southern California look to it. On my run the day after the gig I run alongside a river and by this river there was this medium sized shrine that I went into. Some of the trees here were still a brilliant yellow and against the cloudless blue sky it was a beautiful compositional subject for my camera. All the while I was listening to one of my favorite pieces of music; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The third movement pulls at my heart strings the most but as a whole it’s really hard to beat. I’m still surprised the weather hasn’t been so inclement and on a whole it’s been downright pleasant so far. I didn’t bring a jacket for this tour cuz’ I knew I wasn’t going to be outside that much and a hoodie suffices just fine but I’ve hardly used my hoodie. Just a scarf around my neck and maybe a long sleeve shirt. We’ve been lucky and I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

This is our second time to play Uwajima with the band that opens up for us, The World. They’re local heroes here. The World is mainly a metal genre band but due to the proficiency of their talent and the good melodies of the songs they’ve won a regional ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest that’s scored them some much deserved notoriety here and the surrounding area. The World is also our promoters for this gig. When we came last time it was supposed to be a kind of ‘under the table’ type ‘private’ engagement so as not to ruffle the feathers of other area promoters that were doing our shows on the last tour. On the posters plastered around town it was declared that the Chris Duarte Group’s performance was a rare occasion and that we would ‘never’ return to Uwajima again so you’d better get out and see us and not to miss this opportunity! We all had a good laugh about that declaration when we saw each other again. uwajima1They’ve rented out this hall and it’s a club that’s dark inside with an elevated platform stage on one side. We throw our stuff up and do our thing. We come back for the gig and there’s a good crowd on hand tonight. No tables and chairs are set up so the people are standing in front of the stage soaking in what The World is giving them on their opening set. There’s a lively vibe in the room tonight and this crowd is more vocal then most of our past crowds. I’m not saying our past ones were less interested, just that they displayed a different way to view and enjoy the show. It’s been obvious to me that we’re reaching the people. There’s screaming between songs, standing gyrations and upper body swaying with mild subdued head banging going on. This is a different crowd here. Yes, The World’s music is metal and it’s blaring at them now so I didn’t know how the crowd would react to our blues rock based rhythms. Only one way to find out and we’re up next cuz’ their set is finished.

uwajima2We ascend and the crowd is standing closer to the stage in front of us. We kick in and the crowd starts to respond the same for us. This is going to fun. When we play ‘Minefield of My Mind’ the crowd starts cheering and shouting in unison in time on the half notes stirring me further on stage. I’m starting to lose myself in the moment and be nothing but the music that is playing now. It’s a mini-out-of-body-experience that I’m having and I can’t stop it nor do I want to. This was the most energetic crowd on the tour so far. What a blast!

We hang out with The World at a yaki-niku restaurant after the gig and talk about how much fun the gig was. Another great time here. Arigatou Uwajima and to The World.

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