Miyavi

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author LF date 17/03/14 venue DR Koncerthuset Studie 2, Copenhagen, DEN

I was a huge fan of Miyavi in my early teens and since his current "Slap the World" tour included a stop in Denmark for the first time, it was obviously a show I could not miss. I was anxious to see how many people would be there because even though the man is nothing short of a superstar in Asia, he's not so big around these parts yet. Since last time I checked him out he has ventured into new creative territory with his music, bringing his latest self-titled record squarely into very poppy territory with heavy electronic dance elements everywhere and only English lyrics. A shame in my book, and as such I was a little skeptic on my way to the venue. When I arrived however I was quickly intrigued by the incredibly diverse crowd there. While there was an overweight of teenagers, especially girls with everything from kitty-hoodies to pastel-coloured dreads, there was also a fair amount of older men who seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the show.

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Miyavi

As Miyavi enters the stage along with his only accompanying musician, the drummer Bobo, and starts this rock party off with "Day 1", there is no doubt as to his skills on a stage. Even in this casual set-up in a half-filled venue in Denmark, despite his small size, he really strikes a figure and radiates pure star quality. He has two microphones set up on stage and is also wearing a wireless headset-like one which allows him to really interact with the audience as he can dance around and strike his poses all over the stage while playing his guitar. Seeing him being all smiles as he delivers his songs with real confidence really just sets a good mood that seems to pull everyone along, seeing as he has pretty much everybody jumping and dancing throughout the evening. Much to my delight his characteristic crisp guitar-slapping has not disappeared as much as I feared during the new songs which dominate the set-list tonight.

Diving right into my dilemma of tonight, Miyavi takes a break between songs to mention his new album and describes it as his most futuristic yet. There is an odd contrast between the amount of backing tracks and vocal effects at this show and the stripped down appearance of the two people on stage which doesn't annoy me as much as I had thought it would. This is because Miyavi manages to take his new heavily electronic music and either let his guitar-skills dominate it more than on record or – as during the last four or five songs of tonight – let it flip over completely, travelling into territory reminding me of some speedcore-artist, completing the picture by letting his guitar hang and instead flipping switches and screwing knobs on the mixer-pad also set up on stage. Both approaches really give a strength to most of his new songs that I didn't find on the record and as such my flickering faith in the experimental Miyavi is completely restored after tonight.

Still, I am never completely wow'ed. "Kimi Ni Negai Wo", which was one of his last songs I was really into when I was a fangirl, is the oldest song he plays tonight, in a completely stripped down version. Despite the throat-surgery he had last year that has put some strain on his voice, his delicious and slightly hoarse singing really shines in this setting and it was definitely the most powerful moment of the evening for me. Also, despite his superstar appearance, he comes off as a genuinely nice guy. When he bursts into some of his explosive guitar solos he seems like he is just having a fun time no matter what, and this combined with his incredible professionalism is a joy to watch. He goes out of his way to explain several times how important his audience and the connection he can establish to them through his music is to him, culminating in the strong words: "I don't think music can change the world, but music can change the people who change the world." The screams when Miyavi returns for an encore are absolutely breaking my ears and I do not hear one negative word about the show on my way out afterwards. Still, now I have seen him and can cross that off my list, and I am not certain I would go to another show with him unless he comes up with some really interesting things on his next album.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Day 1
  • 2. Strong
  • 3. Chase It
  • 4. Justice
  • 5. Secret
  • 6. Chillin' Chillin' Money Blue$
  • 7. Selfish Love
  • 8. Please, Please, Please
  • 9. Kimi Ni Negai Wo
  • 10. Guard You
  • 11. Cry Like This
  • 12. Survive
  • 13. Futuristic Love
  • 14. Horizon

- Encore

  • 15. What a Wonderful World
  • 16. Ahead of the Light
  • 17. What's My Name?

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