Yoshida Brothers Sha Tin Town Hall Auditorium Reviewed: October 29 The Yoshida Brothers promised to 'incorporate western musical attributes' in their work, and for the better half of their concert the shamisen-playing siblings almost made good on their pledge. Plucking at their three-stringed instruments like guitar, they proved that fusion works when done with imagination and integrity. While staying close to the roots of tsugaru-shamisen - in which flashy fingerwork and improvisation is paramount - Ryoichiro (pictured left) and Kenichi Yoshida (right) inject more melodic leitmotifs and unison-playing into their numbers. Now on tour with a barren set - the only support comes from the flashy Brazil-trained percussionist Ippiki Takemoto - the pair have found their true voice liberated from the overproduced excess of their studio productions. The first six numbers proved the pair's worth, bursting with vitality: tracks such as Tosa No Sunayama and Canon showcased their fretwork and co-ordinated playing. However, the night goes awry when the duo return to the populist gestures that have clouded their American releases and the disc they issued in Hong Kong - material that trades on slick, overproduced excess rather than their own sounds. That's the case with Toki No Suna, ending with a rock-out encore (when the pair's playing is accompanied - or, more accurately, drowned out - by backing tracks of electric guitars, drums and synthesisers). It's a misguided move: some in the audience cheered, but the pair's efforts to balance traditions and the avant-garde were diminished by a relapse into the safe territory of pop. A night that started brightly ended on a mundane note.