Spirit Soul W Release Party - WALL&WALL Omotesando
As part of Spirit Soul’s increasing activity, a double launch party was held at WALL&WALL in Omotesando for the singles “Fever” by TsuruSwing and “Your Place” by TAKANORI featuring Stephanie Cooke. More than a release party it was a celebration of what Spirit Soul has to offer, with a lineup of DJs and live performances representing the label.
WALL&WALL is an amazing venue and so very Tokyo in that it has an unassuming façade and a layout more like a secret base or a crypt than a club. To reach the actual live performance space you have to navigate narrow passageways and stairs going deep underground. There is no way of knowing that a concrete chamber with a 4m high ceiling, a bar and lounge with loud music is sitting right under the main Omotesando crossing. But rather than being some dark clandestine affair, it’s brightly lit inside and features minimalist yet natural modern design.
Since Spirit Soul is mostly representative of soulful house music, the DJs all played a variety of melodic house music, sometimes deep, sometimes disco, always danceable. It creates a really warm friendly environment, there’s no aggression, it’s not elitist, and there are no dodgy encounters.
While of course all the DJs were fantastic, special mention has to go to the live performers, Shunsuke Inari and Kaoru Ono separately shredding the keys over the beats, and MASMIN as a special guest to sing live over the Spirit Soul tracks she’s featured on.
The main attraction was however Tracy Hamlin, who has provided vocals for tracks by Namy and Fuminori Kagajo, and she gave a powerhouse performance that only true soul singers can provide. Despite the record heat and long distance travel she was in her element here among local Japanese fans of soul, house and disco, with the highlight being her acapella rendition of the gospel classic “How Great Thou Art.” Her spine-tingling performance led everyone to stand perfectly still and raise their smartphones high to document this amazing event (except me, who still believes in the concept of memory and the transience of experience). In this intimate space with tall ceilings and favorable acoustics, we were blessed to have the opportunity to optimally experience Tracy’s beautiful voice and immense talent, and have our spirits lifted up to a higher place.
Overall, the evening was a perfect way to express the key messages behind many Spirit Soul tracks, to love yourself and one another, as well as to fully enjoy life with a positive attitude. We may not be saved spiritually after dancing a few hours, but at the very least we were all happy and enjoyed our time together in a positive way. And that’s always welcome in a place as busy and complex as the world’s greatest metropolis Tokyo.