I went to the Raj & Origa concert Saturday night not entirely sure what to expect. I knew the anime songs that those two had made, but beyond that was entirely unfamiliar with them. Thankfully, the concert did not disappoint. Both artists put on excellent performances worthy of the cheering crowd it drew.
The first one up was Raj Ramayya, best known for Strangers from Wolf’s Rain and Ask DNA from Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Wearing glasses that might have been stolen from Elton John and opening with a song that involved Joker-esque laughing, Raj dominated the stage from the beginning. Not only is he a talented musician, he’s a charismatic performer. In between songs, Raj interacted with the audience by asking trivia questions and getting the different parts of the audience to “gang bow” each other (it’s exactly what it sounds like). In one of the most memorable parts of the show, Raj created a song on the spot based on the audience generated phrase “raunchy toaster strudel mecha” (and he’d go all the way to Mecca to get them). Raj ended on a strong note by getting the audience to sing along to Ask DNA, a song that even now remains stuck in my head. It was an excellent, engaging performance, and if you ever get the chance I strongly recommend seeing Raj in concert.
Up next was Origa, best known for Inner Universe and Rise, the theme songs to both seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In contrast to the more improvisational feel of Raj’s concert, Origa’s show was much more prepared and polished. Flashy backgrounds and lyrics appeared on the screens, serving both in introduce and match Origa’s songs (which I can only describe as electro opera). There were a couple of technical hiccups and the constant flow of the music did rob the show of some of the personal feel that Raj’s concert had. But that doesn’t matter, because what a voice! Origa has one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard, and that was before she did an a cappella performance of Inner Universe and Rise which sent shivers down my spine. Truly incredible. Admittedly, you could likely get a similar experience by listening to one of Origa’s albums, but that only speaks to the quality of her music.
If you missed the concert and want to hear some of the music you missed, you can find Origa’s discography, and samples of much of her music, on her website here. Much of Raj’s music can be found on his website here, his Soundcloud site, or the site for his band Beautiful Losers. Check it out. In person or not, the music is excellent.