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The Samurai Guitarist Plays The Foundry For “No Sleep Til Tokyo” Tour

On August 20th Miyavi, also known as the Samurai Guitarist, led a screaming crowd in an extremely energetic concert filled with loud music and light-hearted yet also sincere talk. Born and raised in Japan, he gained his reputation and nickname for his unique style of “slapping” the strings.

The stage set-up was simple, with long-time drummer Bobo, a DJ, and Miyavi himself on guitar and vocals. Though there was a stand-up mic, he mostly used a headset so that he could sing while playing and constantly moving around the stage. Many of the lyrics are in Japanese, but don’t let that turn you off. The majority of his songs are either Japanese with English mixed in, or all English. Even with a language “barrier,” it won’t keep you from enjoying yourself if you stay open.

The show officially began with “Stars,” as Miyavi reached up toward the sky and fans followed suit; a common and uniting gesture used throughout the night. From the moment he walked on stage, he seemed determined to hype up the audience so that we were as energized as he was. The studio recordings of many of his songs could hype a crowd even without his personal motivation, but he made sure that it was a night of jumping, fist-pumping, and cheering. Overall, his genre could be described as Electro-Rock, but he likes to mix it with other genres like Hip-Hop and some Pop; always with a strong guitar presence. One of my consistent thoughts was this: I’m not a fan of clubs, but if there were one like this that played all his music…I would gladly go from time to time. The music got so loud that towards the end, I couldn’t tell if the volume had made the sound quality somewhat distorted or just my hearing quality. Whatever was happening, I embraced it.

Of course multiple times he took time to just stand and talk. He discussed some of his good experiences here in the U.S; that he appreciated being welcomed when he moved to LA with his family several years ago, and about recently playing the national anthem before a Dodgers game. But he also acknowledged the difficult times that the country has been going through, to which one fan responded “Miyavi for president!” and the rest of the audience enthusiastically agreed. When he playfully expressed skepticism, they started suggesting positions like Vice President, Mayor, etc. He seemed to brush it off at first, but given his own societal views and work as an ambassador for UNHCR, he implied that one day perhaps he would like to take up a political position, or at least one more politically involved. On a related note, he later discussed politics in music. He explained how he likes to include a message in his songs, that it was a main focus in writing the promoted album “No Sleep Til Tokyo,” and that these messages are so important because “those who don’t listen to speech might listen to music.”

Through almost every moment, this show was an insane amount of fun and absolutely worth attending. Miyavi’s performance and stage presence was fantastic; from his charisma and numerous winks to stage right, his energy that kept him running around the stage, the passion that was so clear as he played, and the affection he showed for his fans. Enough affection to make little interactions and then just before leaving, reach out so he could touch the hands of as many as possible. To conclude, if you ever get the opportunity to see Miyavi in concert…take it.

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