August Live

by Natasha Vik

Special To The Japan Times

For those people who can’t take time off work for any of this month’s major music festivals, there are still plenty of options for live music across the country.

In particular, this month promises some great gigs for jazz enthusiasts. At the start of the month, pianists and singers Ben Sidran and Georgie Fame play Aug. 7-9 at the Cotton Club with back-up from the Don’t Cry For No Hipster Band — named after Sidran’s most recent album, and a shoo-in for “name of the year.” (5 p.m., 8 p.m. start times; ticket cost ¥8,400; 03-3215-1555).

Also in the capital, Ueno Jazz Inn ’13 is an all-day jazz event in Ueno Park on Aug. 3 (3:40 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥3,000 in adv.; 03-5685-0650); distinguished jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino presents Jazz For Kids at Setagaya Public Theater on the weekend of Aug. 17 and 18, which will feature the Dream Jazz Band, a group of youngsters who are passionate about the genre (3 p.m. and 2 p.m. starts, tickets cost ¥4,500, children’s tickets available; 03-5432-1515)

Meanwhile in Kansai, Minamikawachi Jazz Festival Starry Jazz Night will be held in Osaka in Habikino on Aug. 3 and Kawachinagano on Aug. 24 (6.30 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥2,000; 0721-56-6100); and at Osakasayama City Culture Hall a series of Sayaka Jazz Lounge nights will continue on Aug. 28, this time with a performance of a selection of beloved movie soundtracks under the theme of “summertime” (6 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥2,000; 072-365-8700).

Sapporo City Jazz will host Ezo Groove on Aug. 24 and 25 (1 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥6,000; 011-592-4125). A ton of acts are featured, including Sadao Watanabe and Ai Kuwabara Trio Project.

Following the release of her seventh album, “Real,” Mika Nakashima continues her 2013 tour with stops in Saitama on Aug. 2, Hyogo on Aug. 8, 10 and 11, Kagawa on Aug. 17, Kochi on Aug. 18, Fukuoka on Aug. 24 and Okinawa on Aug. 28 (start times vary; tickets cost ¥6,800; 0180-993-992).

If jazz isn’t your thing, ahead of the anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the Eternal Peace Concert at Hiroshima Green Arena. While festivities continue weeklong, a diverse roster of artists — Quincy Jones, Kou Shibasaki, Shota Shimizu and Kara — will perform Aug. 3 (5 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥7,000 and up; 082-227-6234).

If you’re unable to catch Welsh rockers Stereophonics at Summer Sonic, you’ll have a chance to see them at Liquidroom in Tokyo’s Ebisu district on Aug. 12 (7 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥6,300; 03-3499-6669). In fact it seems like a few overseas artists have decided to spend some time in the Tokyo area this summer, including rapper Nas, who plays Yokohama Bay Hall on Aug. 8 (8 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥9,000 and up; 03-3499-6669); and singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, who’ll bring a California vibe to Shinkiba’s Studio Coast on Aug. 26 (7 p.m. start; tickets cost ¥7,500; 03-3444-6751).

Another event at Studio Coast will feature the AsobiSystem team for Takenoko!!! Summer Special on Aug. 10. It’ll be led by Yasutaka Nakata and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, but if you can’t make it to the blow-out in Tokyo, catch them when they play Nagoya’s Club Diamond Hall on Aug. 15 or Hiroshima’s Club Quatro on Aug. 29 (start times vary; tickets cost ¥3,000 and up).

One last electronic tour to note, seapunk enthusiast Ultrademon will make his way to Osaka’s Club Circus for a party with rising producers Avec Avec and Eadonmm on Aug. 16 (6 p.m. start; tickets cost 1,500 in advance; 06-6241-3822). A similar roster of up-and-comers — including Taquwami, Luvraw & BTB, and Tomad — will join him at Seiho’s “Abstraktsex” album-release party on Aug. 17 at Tokyo’s Daikanyama Unit (11 p.m. start; 3,000 in advance; 03-5459-8630). (Natasha Vik)