Offbeat

All Hail Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

A one-night-only performance honoring the man who created the iconic sound of Japan's most infamous monster.

Photo by Masaaki Ikeda

Composer Akira Ifukube created more than 250 film compositions during his career spanning five decades, but, in much the same way that John Williams will forever be remembered for scoring Star Wars and all but two of Steven Spielberg’s flicks, Ifukube is eternally linked to Japan’s (literal) biggest export: Godzilla. He scored or had his work repurposed for some 30-plus Godzilla films; he even created the sound of the monster’s iconic footsteps and roar. For the modern listener revisiting these bombastic and otherworldly instrumentals, Ifukube’s bona fides as a respected classical composer still shine through on such offbeat soundtracks as Destroy All Monsters, The Mysterians, and Varan the Unbelievable.

Capping off a film series of lesser-known Japanese horror and fantasy films, Japan Society is presenting a one-night-only revue of Ifukube’s pinnacle works, including highlights from Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Rodan, and the iconic, brass-heavy theme to the original 1954 Godzilla. These songs will be performed live by an unconventional multipiece orchestra made up of members of the electronic rock collective Hikashu, featuring its “extreme vocalist” leader, Koichi Makigami, in the role of the howling monsters and the screaming crowds. As if all that weren’t enough, you won’t want to miss a special appearance by J-pop duo Charan-Po-Rantan covering the hit 1961 theme, “Mothra’s Song.”

Why You Should Go: Perfect both for the kid and the kid at heart, this oddball romp through Godzilla’s greatest hits is making its first appearance in America after three blockbuster decades of touring in Japan.

godzilla-music-2017
Photo by Masaaki Ikeda

Godzilla Legend: Music of Akira Ifukube
Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, Midtown East
Friday, April 28
7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $32

This behemoth of a show is already sold out, but a limited number of tickets are promised to be available the day of performance; a wait list will begin, in person at the venue only, one hour prior to showtime.