MIYAVI Rocks Out at the BASEMENT BAR

live report - 19.01.2011 00:01

The funky musician turns the BASEMENT BAR into his laboratory as he brews some chemistry with his fans.

Shimokitazawa is a well-known district of Tokyo, famous for its fashion and youthful atmosphere along with its live houses. On August 17th, just after he returned from the United States, MIYAVI stopped at the BASEMENT BAR for his Screaming out from Tokyo tour. This live was also available on USTREAM. After his performance at the Shinagawa Stellar Ball, this live was a nice opportunity to observe the Tokyo guitar samurai on a smaller stage.

The BASEMENT BAR is a narrow live house with a capacity of around 200 people. Before the show, the audience was already excited to meet MIYAVI and get closer to him. When he appeared on stage, a wave of hands rose up excitedly, trying to touch the artist. It was to this palpably electric atmosphere that MIYAVI started playing his guitar, warming up the crowd with a slap solo. MIYAVI then raised his guitar's neck and screamed, “Are you ready motherfuckers?”

His first song was ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?, which started with BOBO beating time on his bass drum. This song turned into a kind of jam session between the drummer and MIYAVI. They both seemed to enjoy deviating from the original track and free-styling the song as they went along. The audience sang the chorus all together and the song sped up just before the next one, UNBREAKABLE, one of the most-liked tracks among his latest productions.

Following was S.M.F.B. First, MIYAVI tried to get his audience to pronounce the meaning of the title: “Super Mother Fucker Bitch.” He made fun of them, saying the title with Japanese pronunciation, which sounded like “Supa Moza Focka Bitchi.” The song then started at breakneck speed with BOBO's drums, which led into its classic punk rock riff. Until this live, S.M.F.B could be considered as another generic song, one that had nothing new to offer, from the riff to the singing. But in this performance, MIYAVI spat his words out as if he were talking to the "bitch" mentioned in the title, and the mocking sneers gave a realistic touch to his performance.

Between the two songs, MIYAVI spoke a lot about everything, especially about the heat and the basement. He said, as a joke, that he had probably made a mistake when he chose August to start this new tour. He fanned himself and the first row of the audience, but when people asked him to do it again, he answered with a biting sense of humor: “Die!” He also talked about the purpose of the tour, which was to create “chemistry” between the stage and the audience, a purpose that fans highly praised.

The next song was Chillin Chillin Money Blue$ from his lastest album, WHAT'S MY NAME? MIYAVI recorded his riff on his looper and added some blues notes over it. Everyone clapped their hands to the music. MIYAVI jumped to the rhythm of BOBO's beats to give the impression that the impact on the drums made him jump. Just before launching A-HA, MIYAVI joked again, this time about his keyboardist. He mentioned that coba84 made some mistakes in one of their last performances, earning a scolding from BOBO that has made the keyboardist scared of the drummer ever since. A-HA wasn't the best song of the show, but MIYAVI made the audience sing along and asked BOBO to sing a little too. Next up came Moon, played with sensitivity. The atmosphere in the BASEMENT BAR calmed down.

It was the right time to launch one of the most moving songs in MIYAVI's discography, a brand new one titled GRAVITY. The mood of this song was already noted in the live report of MIYAVI at the Shinagawa Stellar Ball. With just a few melancholic guitar notes, some personal lyrics and sad, deep singing that tore one's guts out, MIYAVI showcased his sorrow to perfection. The song was so meaningful and deep that people didn't dare to move or talk during the performance. The audience showed perfect respect for the artist and, at the end of the track, expressed their praise. Then came the song Universe. Fans certainly appreciated the guitar slapping throughout the song.

MIYAVI appeared tired at this point, maybe because of the heat in the live house, and his voice sounded weak. However, his performance on stage was still going strong, which could be seen with Futuristic Love, one of the most surprising tracks. During the second part of the song, MIYAVI turned the BASEMENT BAR into a night club. Keeping his riff on his looper, he added a lot of electro effects over it with his effect units. BOBO backed the track with his drums while this experimental moment kept going on with the same pattern as on the album. MIYAVI stopped playing for a while, dancing to the track as though on acid.

As the show neared the end, MIYAVI played WHAT'S MY NAME?, starting with rapping and a chorus that involved the repeated shouting of the question asked in the song's title. MIYAVI made the audience shout his name between the guitar parts. His name was being shouted again at the end of the track, fans asking for an encore as MIYAVI left and summarily returned. The show reached its final moments with Shouri no V-ROCK!! With coba84 on keyboard, MIYAVI heated the crowd up for one last time. As was tradition with this track, everybody spun their towels above their heads throughout the song, led by coba84. The show drew to a close with everyone twirling their towels until the end.

MIYAVI's purpose was successfully fulfilled in Shimokitazawa. In the BASEMENT BAR, the chemistry between the artist and his audience was perfect. Less distant than when he played in larger halls, MIYAVI filled the small space with his huge ego, infectious exuberance and talent, and made sure everyone had a good time.
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