There are gigs and then there are GIGS, and leaving the Islington Academy on Tuesday night, I felt that I had just seen and been a part of something special. Rewind a few hours earlier and I had joined the long queue of j-rock fans, dressed in punk rock and Gothic Lolita gear to see Miyavi. Picture neon pink, gothic fashions and amusingly, even steam punk anime kids wearing vintage oversized goggles. His fans are as diverse as the man’s music himself.
When Miyavi appeared onstage later that evening, at first all we saw was a geisha’s pink parasol. A quick flip around revealed Miyavi hidden beneath, mixing traditional with modern, which is what makes him so interesting. Launching into some of his classic tunes and awe-inducing guitar solo’s, the samurai rocker was on a mission to rock London. It was the anthemic songs like Freedom Fighters and tracks from This Iz Kabuki Rock that got the kids (and grown ups) jumpin’. I was squished into a 20 row moshpit, but it was ace! Miyavvi knows how to rev up a crowd, his poise and swift hand movements were more reminiscent of a traditional Japanese dancer than a rocker. It’s near impossible not to fall under such a magical spell.
One surprising element to the show was the fact that he spent just about the same amount of time talking to the audience as he did singing. You get the feeling that things have changed for Miyavi. Gone are the once famous dreadlocks and piercings’, but the person standing before us still embodies that punk-rock spirit. The move from a big label to going independent has been hard, but despite the challenges he said:
"Even if my wings are clipped, even when it’s tough, I won’t give up my dream"
And I must confess, this admission of his made me like him just that little bit more. Nobody ever talks about the other side of dreams: that times can, and will be, hard. Often, this is something that is left unsaid, but here was Miyavi admitting these things, openly and honestly to his fans. And I found this admirable. If I learnt anything from Miyavi that night, it’s to keep believing in my dreams, no matter what life may throw at me. Miyavi has this incredible fighting spirit, if he’s going to fight for his dreams, then I will too!
Married life has changed him, he says he can no longer go clubbing. Surprisingly, he even tells people that they don’t have to join his fan club, whispering that it’s expensive. He would rather people come and see him live. Later on he says that it doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter the colour of your skin, music can pass any barrier. And it shows. In the audience that night, along with us Brits, were many people who had travelled from across Europe just to hear him sing. A love for music had brought us all together. Miyavi rocked London, and London most certainly rocked back!