MIYAVI's Australian Debut
A live report on both of MIYAVI's performances at the One Movement Showcase and Festival in Perth, Australia.
The show on Thursday took place at the Capitol, a smallish venue: a dance hall with a modest stage where MIYAVI’s technicians and entourage could still be seen setting up the stage and equipment a few minutes before eight. MIYAVI’s show was the first on the list for the night and the crowds were still thin. It was a relaxed atmosphere, with many holding drinks, as there was a bar perpendicular to the stage. As this was a Showcase performance not open to the general public without a special pass, the majority of the audience were artist delegates and representatives of the music industry as well as the media.
At 8pm sharp MIYAVI appeared onstage wearing a sleeveless black top and red leggings with his long dirty blond hair pulled back with a cap. He entered the stage with a black electric guitar, stood centre-stage and smiled cheekily. The only other person onstage was the drummer, wearing a t-shirt and very short striped shorts, on MIYAVI’s right hand side.
MIYAVI played a few fast riffs on his guitar and then spoke into the microphone, introducing himself in delightfully accented English and saying that it was his first time being in what he called “Aussieland." Then, motioning the crowd to come closer to the stage, he immediately began to play WHAT’S MY NAME?, a song from his new album that will be released on October 13th. The stage at this point was now bathed with bright dancing lights. He played fast, hard and without mistakes; his fingers were a white blur. At some points he would dance with the guitar swinging about.
By the second song SURVIVE the crowd had grown larger. SURVIVE was another song full of impressive guitar solos that truly captivated the audience. By the end of SURVIVE, MIYAVI had successfully won the audience. After SURVIVE, MIYAVI introduced the next song TORTURE, his latest single. He and the drummer commenced to play the song, giving a performance that was electrifying and deafening. The dance hall seemed to shake and vibrate throughout the performance from the intense drum-play. Despite the cramped stage MIYAVI managed to groove to the music, moving his limber and lithe body so that one could see the movement of his muscles under the spotlight as he played. Next on the set list was UNIVERSE, another fast paced song. The crowd were stomping their feet and head-banging during this song. It ended with a loud applause and wolf-whistles.
FUTURISTIC LOVE, also from his new album, was the last song on the list. This was an interesting one as MIYAVI played with loops. He would play a melody on his guitar and that melody would instantly be looped, leaving MIYAVI to dance and groove on the stage. He jumped with so much energy, his long hair whipping the air across the stage. In some parts of the dance area some people from the crowd could be seen moving to the music. The show ended with MIYAVI thanking the crowd with a grin and wave, with the strains of FUTURISTIC LOVE fading out.
Festival Performance, Saturday October 9th 2010, 2.00pm
The day was unseasonably hot for spring. It was just a few minutes before two and a huge crowd had already gathered in front of the Snowball Stage of the Esplanade. Many were fans of MIYAVI, while others were curious onlookers.
At 2pm MIYAVI strode onto the stage and was met with screams from fan girls. He was clad in all white, wearing a white singlet with large, gaping holes and white leggings. In the sun, his numerous tattoos seemed to almost glisten. His hair was pulled back with a cap, his ponytail whitish blond. He came up to the microphone and said, “Hey I’m MIYAVI,” and grinned. He was passed a guitar and immediately played a fast, long riff on his guitar whilst signaling to his technicians. His playing did not fail to impress the crowd, which continued to grow larger. Soon after he left the stage, much to the puzzlement of the audience. It seemed like a very elaborate sound check.
A minute later MIYAVI appeared again, and introduced himself once again as well as the drummer, who sat with the drum kit on MIYAVI’s right side. They were the only two people onstage. MIYAVI said that it was his first time in “Aussieland” and that it was nice to meet everyone. He flashed a smile and immediately began to play the first song, WHAT'S MY NAME?. This song had parts where MIYAVI rapped the verse and each time he said "What’s my name?", it was answered by a cheerful “MIYAVI!” from the crowd. This song, with its elaborate guitar parts, truly showcased MIYAVI’s talent and impressed the crowd.
After WHAT’S MY NAME?, MIYAVI introduced the next song SURVIVE. Before the song began, MIYAVI and the drummer played a series of complicated tunes, where both of them had to start and end simultaneously. It was like a game and it was very well-appreciated by the audience when the drummer missed his cue and MIYAVI gave the audience a cheeky grin. TORTURE came after SURVIVE, and MIYAVI introduced this song as this latest single released that September and immediately began to play this fast-paced song. At this point the stage was bathed in green light. It was a mesmerizing performance where MIYAVI’s fingers were once again a blur. At some points of the song he would make suggestive gestures towards the crowd, which would earn a gasp or a giggle from the crowd, particularly the fans. After TORTURE he performed UNIVERSE, another song that demonstrated his prowess and versatility as a guitarist. The song ended with loud applause and cries of "MIYAVI!" from fans.
Finally the final song: FUTURISTIC LOVE. Before starting this song, MIYAVI said as he pointed his index finger skywards, “We can be one with good music! BE ONE!” Watching this song performed was interesting, as MIYAVI played with loops in this song; he would play a melody and the melody would be repeated throughout the song, until he played a new one. Due to this loop, MIYAVI had more chance to groove to the music, swaying his limbs and body to the music and swinging his guitar about. Even the crowd was seen dancing. Towards the end of the song he played an impressive guitar solo, ending it with his guitar in the air. Before leaving the stage he said, “Have a good day people,” and blew everyone a farewell kiss.
On the stage MIYAVI is a formidable presence; even while grinning and making funny gestures he is constantly showing a serious competence on the guitar. MIYAVI looked far more at ease at the Festival performance compared to his Showcase gig. Perhaps the presence of his fans made him far more vigorous and energetic. But there's no doubt he gained new fans from these performances as they were breathtaking, as expected of MIYAVI.
Setlist (for both performances):
1. WHAT'S MY NAME?
5. FUTURISTIC LOVE