雅-MIYAVI- What’s My Name? – Slim’s 10/20/2011 [Review]

“We’ve been here since 11 yesterday.”

You usually only hear a line like that at crazy Black Friday sales, the screening for the newest Harry Potter movie, or the site of an angry protest. But that wasn’t the case for this line of mattresses, camp beds and spread blankets along San Francisco’s 11th Street just outside of Slim’s on October 20th. These people were waiting for a very special person–Miyavi.

Let me tell you who Miyavi is.

He calls himself a “samurai guitarist”–a guitarist who tries to retain a Japanese essence. He also plays a fusion of everything under the sun (go figure, he’s from the Land of the Rising Sun). Miyavi creates plenty of cross-genre music that speaks to people from all walks of life. Just to give you an idea of how far-reaching Miyavi’s appeal is, he has collaborated with Good Charlotte and 30 Seconds to Mars.

Photo by Tabia Chui.

So, yes, this man had people camping out for him in front of Slim’s SF for as long as 48 hours. Although not quite as long, I waited from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, which encompassed waiting at will call, getting inside Slim’s and finally seeing Miyavi emerge from the stairwell. When he did, the crowd went wild. Other attendees who I had just been talking to about very mundane things like work and cats were suddenly screaming, shouting and waving their hands in the air.

Miyavi had arrived.

That night focused on most of the songs from Miyavi’s 2010 album, What’s My Name?, but he also granted several fan favors by allowing the audience to request songs. This did prove to be a bit hectic, though, when about 99% of the room began screaming song titles (some from as far back as ten years ago, when he first debuted).

“Whoa, whoa, wait. Let the people who waited here for a fucking two days tell me what they want to hear,” there was a considerable drop in people shouting requests (only 90% of the room now), and he eventually played “Señor, Señora, Señorita,” a song from 2006. This fan-requested acoustic set was one of the things that impressed me most that night. Miyavi claimed that he didn’t quite remember his “old tracks” and asked the audience to “sing along with [him],” which everyone gladly did. Yet he still played along with no mistakes, dancing and encouraging the audience to sing and cheer louder.

One of the other unique things about Miyavi is that he didn’t grow up speaking English, but only seriously studied it when he went to language school in Los Angeles for six months back in 2006. While he was there, he also polished his stage act by using his weekends to do street performances.

Photo by Tabia Chui.

His experience in LA definitely helped. Miyavi was incredibly interactive as he chatted and joked with his fans between his songs. He spoke of his efforts to learn English, his two toddler daughters and–of course–how much he “fucking love[d] San Francisco.”

In regard to the music, Miyavi is definitely a musician who sounds even better live than in a recording. At Slim’s, his unique and incredible guitar slapping was much smoother and less twangy compared to his recordings, where the ultra sharp sound quality was sometimes a pitfall. Miyavi also kept the stage to the bare essentials. It was him with his guitars and his drummer, Bobo, behind the drum-kit. A simple, powerful and effective live set-up.

The crowd that attended was also a great bunch. Everybody was there to simply enjoy the music (evidenced by how many people weren’t drinking that night), and enjoy the music they did. There was no drunken shoving or rude elbowing, even when Miyavi gave the fans a chance to reach for him as he played at the edge of the stage. It was concert etiquette at its best.

Photo by Tabia Chui.

San Francisco was only the first stop of the North and South American leg of Miyavi’s world tour. Since then, he has performed in LA, Portland and Seattle, and finishes with his North American leg on November 8th in Dallas, Texas. Another big stop will be Irving Plaza in NYC on Halloween on the 31st, where fans plan to start lining up as early as the night of the 28th, putting the two-day campers to shame. Regardless of where he goes, Miyavi is sure to have people eagerly awaiting his singing and unique slap-guitar style. And, of course, if Miyavi is coming to your town and you haven’t gotten your tickets yet–well, what’re you waiting for? Get on it!

Photo by Tabia Chui

RELATED LINKS

Miyavi Official Site

Miyavi Official YouTube

Are you a fan of Miyavi? Find out when Miyavi will be in your town by tracking him on eventseekr.com. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for updates on what we’re covering. You can stay on top of exciting events from around the world by downloading the eventseekr app for Android, iPhone or Ovi.

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About Tabia
A girl whose eyes are much too big for her stomach. This leads to adventures at buffets that result in sleeping on the couch and dreaming of the next buffet to be conquered.

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