Kikagaku Moyo & Yu Su

September 30th, 2022 @ the Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver BC.

Review by Massimo Siro Andolfatto

It’s the last show that Kikagaku Moyo will ever play in Vancouver and after a decade-long career, some say they are too young to die. Even if that’s so, theirs is a life well lived. They set out on a musical voyage and have soared into the collective conscience of the psych community—they’ve quickly built up their own kingdom to inhabit and are perfectly content to watch it wash away. It’s an honourable achievement to let the collective live and die a natural lifecycle, rather than chasing a model of perpetual growth. 

Kikagaku Moyo @ the Rickshaw Theatre

Before any of the bands have started playing, the merchandise lineup is spread across the whole length of the Rickshaw floor;  The general atmosphere is one of excitement. There are mobs of orange-clothed fans filling the floor—they know what they’re about to witness will be something special. 

Yu Su—consisting of Kafeing-born Yu Su, guitarist Scott Gailey, bassist Aidan Ayers, and drummer Josh Contant—hits the stage, starting out softly. They’re providing a shelter for the audience, a warm and friendly environment to rest before setting out. As the set goes on, they get progressively heavier, the drummer starts playing alongside a drum machine—creating the feeling of being dropped into a frogger simulation. All in all, Yu Su’s synth steals the show, blasting in and out of portals in deadly drops as geometric patterns are projected overhead.

Yu Su

If Yu Su is a shelter from the storm—then Kikagaku Moyo is the group of friends journeying out into fairy tale dreamscapes. The band is how bands should be, they’re playing together—chiming bells, chopping the air in slashes of wah and dualling hammer-on riffs—flowing seamlessly back into ghostly dances.

They pick up the pace, building and building, barrelling through the forest as if pursued by an onibaba, then turning to pierce through the air in glorious slices of fuzz guitar. Songs shimmer awake—arising like a new day. The band has range. Descending into loud punk death jams, shifting through spectral ponds, Kikagaku Moyo drove the crowd to beautiful madness.

Their influences are evidently diverse, with sections of jazz, Smashing Pumpkins-esque octave jams, and drawn-out Floydian echoes—falling into a bottomless well of their own creation, and rising from the ashes again and again. 

On their seventh final show ever, Kikagaku Moyo mesmerized a reverent Vancouver audience. As the audience waved goodbye to the band following their encore, one couldn’t help but wonder “do they really have to break up”? Kikagaku Moyo, one of the finest musical groups of the last decade, demonstrate that there is nothing quite like leaving on top of your game.

Photo Set #1 by Tate Kaufman

Photo set #2 by Massimo Siro Andolfatto


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