Let’s rewind shall we? It’s 2002. I’m 13 years old and starting to dive head first into the world of Japanese Rock and Visual Kei. I’ve started veering away from the big names and am getting into the indie scene. That’s when I hear it, Pop Is Dead. I’m instantly obsessed. I eat up everything I can find. His previous band, Due Le Quartz, his fashion and modeling career, everything. For the next 6-7 years, half of everything I do is influenced by this musician. The way I cut and dyed my hair, my clothes, my mannerisms. My senior prom hair style? From a fashion ad he did for Atelier Boz. My first tattoo? The placement and style were heavily influenced for the tattoos he had. In fact all the way up until 2011 or 2012, I still had every album he released preordered and in my mits within days of the release. Over the years I’ve since lost my absolute enamorment but his impact never went away and my admiration for him is still strong. Despite all of this though, I had never seen him live. His first few shows in the US were always few and far between and never accessible. Later, I would find out about shows days or weeks AFTER they happened. I had basically accepted that in this case, I would just never have the opportunity to see him live.
So why do you care? Time to move forward in time to Saturday, April 22, 2017. I sleepily pull into the office and set up at work, ready for the day. I’m exhausted from the busy week and plan on heading home and gluing myself to the couch and not moving until the weekend is over. I start going through my morning grind on the Twittersphere when I see it. Someone is talking about their tickets for Miyavi. Wait, what? Somebody is talking about Miyavi in reference to my job? Crazy, is he playing shows in the Us? Is he on tour? As I always do when I catch wind of Miyavi potentially touring the US, I immediately looked on his website for tour dates and there it was.
SATURDAY APRIL 22, 2017 BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL, BOSTON.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. You’re telling me that my childhood idol is playing a tiny venue in the state I live TONIGHT?!?!” I immediately checked online for tickets, found 2 for $10 each, proceeded to lose my mind even more, purchased them, and texted my best friend that we are going to fucking Boston to see Miyavi and she better be ready. Even my best friend, who is a hermit and does nothing without at least 1-2 weeks notice, couldn’t say no.
The show was sold out and when we got there about 20 minutes before doors the line was wrapped all the way down the block and around the building. Being old people, we went across the street to the bar to pregame. Once the line was moving we hopped into it. It was such a weird and surreal experience. This is a scene that at this point in my life I’m completely disconnected from yet when I look at it now I can see that it is still vastly the same. The only difference? The fandom is no longer strictly super immersed Japanese fans. Now people of all kinds are showing up and that’s really pretty cool. 15 years ago, it was such a closed scene and one that I quite honestly wasn’t a huge fan of. Now everyone is either grown up or the new kids are coming into the scene with a much wider scope.
We had never heard of the openers, Kiha and the Faces from South Korea followed by Slot Machine from Thailand, but both put on really engaging shows. Kiha and the Faces are fucking weirdos and it’s great; check them out. The music might not hit home, but their ridiculous videos are worth a look. Slot Machine was pretty underwhelming when I googled their music but on stage, they had passion and energy and their bassist was a goddamn riot to watch.
As for Miyavi himself? Well. It’s actually hard to describe. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I genuinely wish I could have had this moment 5 or 10 years ago. Where he is in his career now is mostly playing insane guitar riffs over techno. It’s not bad and his performance was still amazing and I was still so fucking psyched to be there and had an amazing time, but it just wasn’t the same. It was almost like getting a stripped performance. Just the man and his guitar with an awesome DJ set playing in the background. I’ll say it again, I’m not disappointed and I knew full well this wouldn’t be the live tapes high school me used to scour the internet to watch, but there is definitely still a scratch left to itch. If there is one thing to take away from this other than “holy fuck I finally got to see Miyavi!” it’s that you need to pursue opportunities when you have them. Go to the show, see the game, check out the art gallery. Because even though, those opportunities may swing around again, they’ll likely never be the same.
But I’ll say it a third time, I’m so insanely grateful for this experience and so happy I finally got to see the love of high school Katt’s life.
With that, I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.