Miyavi regaled his audience at the Downtown Los Angeles venue Belasco Theater with his unique guitar slapping style.
On tour in support of his current LP release “Firebird” and his April 4, 2017, release “All Time Best, Day 2,” Miyavi played to a nearly sold out house of enthusiastic fans and newcomers.
Newly moved to the Los Angeles area, Miyavi shredded songs that had my companion Lennie and I asking ourselves if he was the best guitar player we’ve ever seen or heard. While not sure if he surpasses the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, we are confident that he ranks up there with them due to the fact that he coaxes sounds out of his guitar that makes it sing…amazing. The 15th anniversary LP “All Time Best Day 2” is a compilation of songs from his solo career which began in 2002. “Guard You,” which was co-written with his wife Melody, features Melody's voice dubbed into the background of this song while played live as well as a few other songs. I'm not quite sure how to process these dubbed songs. While the dubbing of another voice does add another dimension to the impact of a song, there is a long-held belief that it’s a bit of a rip-off. Lennie and I both have a policy of refusing to spend a lot of money on an act if it’s lip-synced or dubbed. Lennie called it "singing with themselves and it is cheating.”
The set also included “Live To Die Another Day” and the “Mission: wereImpossible” theme which Miyavi’s mentor Hotei also performed at his recent Troubadour show.
Miyavi also threw in “What’s My Name.”
When it comes to his music, Miyavi considers his body and his soul to be his instrument. He also believes that his music “is a bridge, we are one through music.” During the Belasco show, Miyavi stated that “this world is in a crisis, we need to preserve it for the future.”
“Unbroken” Director Angelina Jolie-Pitt has stated that Miyavi is her favorite artist and that she agrees with him about music being a bridge to bring us all together. When it came time to cast the sadistic prison guard "The Bird" in her “Unbroken” film, Jolie-Pitt wanted a rock star to play the part and selected Miyavi as he is the exact opposite of “The Bird." “Unbroken" was Miyavi’s acting debut, and he now has two more films to add to his acting credits; “Kong: Skull Island” and “Stray.”
Dubbed the “Samurai Guitarist” by his fans, Miyavi uses no pick to coax the indelible sounds from his guitar.
Also on the bill was a delightful opening act that calls themselves KIHA & The Faces which has a great presentation of very melodic and fun riffs. Their original songs are great and entertaining, but what made the set was when they performed the Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime” which stole their show and was superbly rendered.
Slot Machine was the second act and was musically iffy as there was nothing to set them apart from the pack except being a band that plays too loud to make up for what they are lacking.
While I did enjoy the show at the Belasco Theater, I’m not sure I care to return there as there is precious little seating which means if you have a cane and need to sit down you can forget it. The balcony was also closed off which meant that escaping the crowd was out of the question. There is seating on both sides of the venue which were roped off for “VIP" guests I was told which were both empty. I did attempt to sit down in the roped off the area to change shoes and was shooed away as well as Lennie when she tried to get some good photo shots.
Miyavi comes highly recommended by myself and Lennie and is on my iPod. Being iPod worthy is a serious matter as there is only so much space for music so I must be selective about my music choices.