Record Reviews

Kiyoshi “Seitansai – Oretachino Kiyoshi”

The one and only Kiyoshi gives us her best on a terrific new live album.

Japanese bassist Kiyoshi, who released six solo albums in five years, now showcases her best songs on a terrific live album that perfectly demonstrates why this artist is such a joy to experience.

It was Marty Friedman who brought Kiyoshi and her music to my attention. I was sitting with Marty in a rehearsal studio in a Tokyo suburb when he asked me if I knew who Kiyoshi was. “I’ve heard of him”, I replied. “Her”, said Marty. He had recruited her to play bass in his solo band. Seeing her perform live with Marty made me realise she was a bass player above and beyond most other bass players. Marty has a knack for finding exceptional musicians for his live band. When I dug deeper and started to listen to Kiyoshi’s solo output, I was blown away. Once again I embarrassed myself when I asked Kiyoshi who was playing the guitar in her solo band. “It’s only bass and drums”, Kiyoshi replied. The soundscape she has created with only bass, drums and vocals is mesmerising. The stuff she does has turned her beloved Warwick bass into a multi-instrument. It is not a bass. It is a Warwick bass being used by Kiyoshi to create music. No guitar is needed.

Since moving on from Marty’s band a few years ago, Kiyoshi has been a live bassist for B’z, one of Japan’s biggest-selling rock acts. She has also been busy as a solo artist. Between 2016 and 2021, she released six excellent solo albums. Now, she’s got a live album coming out. Recorded live at Koenji High in Tokyo on the 31st of October 2023 (her birthday), “Seitansai – Oretachino Kiyoshi” features a terrific show with Kiyoshi at her best. I love everything about the artist Kiyoshi. Her fabulously outrageous bass playing. Her quirky songs that live somewhere between J-pop and alt-rock. Her delicate voice that thrives on emotion. Her cheeky persona. She plays bass and sings lead on all songs and is only backed up by drummer Eiji Mitsuzono.

This live release is full of my favourite Kiyoshi songs, including “Hero”, “Dance, Darling, Dance”, “Nasty” and “Hi-Ho”. One of my favourite Kiyoshi tracks, “A Whole New World”, has insane bass playing and finishes this live release on top. This is a splendid live album, delivered in the raw. This is not the kind of polished live release which has studio overdubs. This is Kiyoshi live. No tapes, no backing tracks, no overdubs. She is a fabulous Osaka musician with her own compositions, fierce bass and delicate voice, backed up by a sole drummer. No other artist is like Kiyoshi. She is a unique artist who always keeps her music and performances interesting. She is a performer who never disappoints.

Kiyoshi’s “Seitansai – Oretachino Kiyoshi” will be released as a DVD, CD and photo book on 9th June. Buy the fucking album.