The Music Box

Utada Hikaru, known by her stage name Utada in Europe and the U.S.,  returned to the U.S. recently to play a few performances. Utada is one of Japan’s best-selling artists, and I felt as though it would be a wasted opportunity not to see her when she was in town. Famous for songs in both English and Japanese, she attracted a crowd rather unlike anything I had ever seen outside The Fillmore. I got to the venue as doors were opening at 7 p.m., and it wasn’t until a good bit after 8 that the end of the line was finally ushered through the doors into the venue.

The crowd was varied – a lot more diverse than the crowd I see at most other concerts in this country given by Japanese artists. Utada even commented on it during her performance. However, the crowd was also a very polite one, very friendly and not at all rude or violent.

I had heard Utada’s music before the show, and to be honest hadn’t been blown away by it. It was good pop to me, but nothing above and beyond much of what I heard from a lot of other Japanese pop performers. However, Utada’s got great charisma and presence up on the stage, and her voice is dead on. Especially in a venue like The Fillmore, where the slightest hint of a pitchy tone by the artist seems to get magnified a thousand fold, it’s important to be right on. And Utada was.

Making quips in between songs, she commented to the crowd that the people up front that had waited since 2 a.m. out in front of the venue were “so crazy!” and even gave a brief Japanese thank you to her fans that had come all the way across the world to see her. She also commented that she noticed that as soon as she finished any performance, there were already videos of it up on YouTube. Utada also asked that we tweet and type nice things about her. I would have done that anyway, but just for her: Utada, you were fantastic. You’ve made me a real fan. You are also a true classy lady, and I hope you come back to New York soon. We love you!

Anyway, the crowd had a tremendous time, and I even managed to snap a few pictures of my own before the security made me check my camera — no pictures were allowed! (Oops! They didn’t tell me at the door, but the great security member that led me down to the coat check apologized, saying by the time they got to my section of the line, they seemed to have stopped saying anything.)

Official Website
Official MySpace

Here is Utada “in the flesh,” as it were:

IMG_0894 IMG_0895 IMG_0899 IMG_0901 IMG_0903 IMG_0911 IMG_0912


I think that it’s time to turn this into more of a concert blog than anything. I go to way too many concerts lately.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was able to go to the Emilie Autumn concert I mentioned in another post. It was incredibly fun; definitely worth the few years I’ve waited for Emilie to finally come (back) to this country.

Emilie Autumn is a singer, violinist, harpsichord player, poet, and writer. I usually describe her style to people as neo-Victorian gothic electronica if they really want to know, but typically when I start adding that many descriptors to a genre, I just leave it alone and let it speak for itself. Her stage show is a combination concert, burlesque show with a touch of circus thrown in.

Her backup band is known as The Bloody Crumpets, and between songs are skits and kissing games and even a fan dance. During songs The Bloody Crumpets occasionally come out and perform acrobatics over and among the audience on hoops and sheets. Each member of The Bloody Crumpets has her own “identity” in the Asylum – Veronica is the sexy nymphomaniac, Aprella the sweet maiden, Captain Maggot the deranged pirate captain (though I found her quite adorable), while Contessa is the proper lady.

It’s certainly a spectacle, and Emilie is incredibly charismatic (and sexy). The show is raunchy and inappropriate, but that’s certainly the point: Emilie finished the show with a striptease, and as I said on my Twitter, “After the vocalist is naked…it’s pretty much time to go.” The Rat Game, which ends in two girls kissing rather passionately, was fairly worrisome to me given the recent problems with seasonal flu as well as H!N1, but hey. Whatever floats your boat.

1. Intro/4 O’Clock
2. Opheliac
3. Liar
4. The Art of Suicide
5. I Want My Innocence Back
6. Shalott
8. God Help Me
9. Dead Is The New Alive
10. I Know Where You Sleep
11. 306
12. Misery Loves Company
13. Face The Wall (Emilie Violin Solo)
14. Mad Girl
15. Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

The Asylum: Official Website
Emilie Autumn Official MySpace

I hope that Dean (follow him on Twitter @dean_b, by the way) will forgive this last round of bad pictures. I didn’t have a new battery for my eight-year old digital camera yet, so I was still using the cell phone.
Better pictures can be found here thanks to knightmare6. I just feel odd posting someone else’s pictures on my own entry.

Captian Maggot on her hoop

Captian Maggot's Hoot 2

Maggot Hoop 3

Emilie and Contessa


Swallowing Fire

Emilie on her violin

Contessa Sheet Dance

Last night I had the opportunity to go to La Roux’s sold out show at Highline Ballroom!

La Roux is an English electropop duo comprised of Eleanor Jackson and Ben Langmaid. You quite likely have heard their song Bulletproof: it was actually iTunes Free Single of the Week a few weeks ago.

Anyway, the show was packed, but the crowd was incredible. The opening band was called Body Language, and they’re Brooklyn Natives if you’re interested in checking them out. They were really good: of the same electropop ilk as La Roux. They played for about forty minutes, and then they started setting the stage for La Roux.

Eleanor Jackson has been ill for a while, and it’s concentrated mostly in her lungs which obviously makes the fact that she’s singing through it rather incredible. She’s had to cancel a few of La Roux’s gigs, but they went on last night. She said that it was an abbreviated setlist and apologized profusely. Meanwhile, her set is apparently usually forty-five minutes, but last night was close to forty. How abbreviated!

She was a complete trooper and sounded absolutely wonderful though, and thank you to Cherrytree Records for bringing her over and allowing me to see her live. I can’t wait for her to come back in February.

01. Tigerlilly
02. Quicksand
03. Finally My Saviour
04. Cover My Eyes
05. Colourless Colour
06. I’m Not Your Toy
07. Fascination
08. In For The Kill
09. Bulletproof

Official Site
La Roux on MySpace
Polydor Records (UK)
Cherrytree Records (US)
Body Language on MySpace

These aren’t the best pictures in the world, but next time I’m at a show, I promise to remember to bring my digi. I only had my cell phone, since I’ve been without digicam for so long.
Click for full-size. Or, well, rescaled full-size, since I resized them, since I didn’t think there was much point in bigger if it would just be blurrier.

Line outside Highland Ballroom

Opening Band (Body Language):
Opening Act: Body Language

Opening Act: Body Language

La Roux:
Setting Up the Stage for La Roux

La Roux's setlist below the electronic drumpad

It's La Roux!

La Roux

Getting Water

I was close

et cetera