Fujiya & Miyagi / Project Jenny, Project Jan Richard’s on Richards, Vancouver BC Oct. 9

Some bands are made for the stage and some are not. Unfortunately, Fujiya & Miyagi are the latter. At the Brighton trio’s Vancouver show, the group failed to make the evening a memorable one as they struggled through a performance that was, for lack of a better word, dull. To make matters worse, the group received little backup from the opening entertainment, Brooklyn duo Project Jenny, Project Jan, whose swing-influenced electro (think Propellerheads fronted by a rapping Robbie Williams character) was a tough pill to swallow. As a result, F&M were left to pull the night out of a downward spiral, but the task proved too great for them. While the chant of "Fujiya, Miyagi, Fujiya, Miyagi” from the set’s opener, "Ankle Injuries,” got some excitement flowing, it soon evaporated. This was partly due to the lack of dynamic in the band’s material. Songs only took two forms: mechanical, beat-driven Krautrock — which would have likely sounded derivative to anyone familiar with Neu! — or white-boy-funk type numbers led by singer/talker David Best’s gruff whisper. And this lack of sonic diversity would have been manageable if it wasn’t for the wooden, unenthusiastic delivery, where Fujiya, Miyagi and Ampersand methodically employed a guitar/ bass/ keyboard setup. Adding to the stiffness were the pre-programmed beats that came through the PA, where every other song seemed to use the same loop pattern at varying tempos; a live kit isn’t always necessary, but in this case, it might have loosened things up a bit. Plus, unlike on record, Best had a hard time pulling off all his exaggerated "r’s” and Mike Skinner-like delivery, coming across too awkward and self-conscious to be any kind of commanding front-man. But to be fair, even after such a lacklustre performance, their recent long-player, Transparent Things, still sounds great. It’s just that Fujiya & Miyagi are just not made for the stage.