Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in New York

Text and photo by Nicholas D. Kent (Japanese Electronic Music) for Tokyo's Coolest Sound
Here's a report of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's latest show, held last weekend in New York. Big thanks to correspondent Nicholas D. Kent. Read on!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
April 14, 2013, Best Buy Theater, NYC

While waiting on a line to get in that wrapped around 2 corners and half way down the long block, a teen with her grand dad in tow randomly stopped by some 20-somethings next to me and asked "Could you explain to him who she is?", as if she had just tried and failed. He volunteered "This has something to do with animation, right?". Actually on line there were many small nods to Harajuku style, lots of bows, a few in full cosplay gear, a couple punks and goths who might always go out that way, but the audience to me seemed to be lots and lots of anime fans.

To digress a moment. I found out about the NYC show because I had been curious about Lowe's Astor Plaza, the largest movie theater (single screen) in NYC from the 70s to the 2000s. I remember seeing Star Wars movies there. I suspected it had been closed years but I was curious what was there now. Last time I was there was in 2001 to see "2001". Kubrick had it in his 1960s contract that MGM had to show the film in NYC properly in 2001. Quite an experience as it was a great theater. So one day, I walked to where it used to be and up on the big color LED marquee was splashed "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, April 14" with her face and lots of colors... and unfortunately "Sold Out" over 6 weeks before the show. I found out the movie theater had become a 2200 capacity music venue and Kyary could sell it out well in advance.

I was up in the air if I should get a re-sold ticket but they were going for reasonable prices the day before the show. Not the greatest place for a show with a not too tall in height act, when only half full I had a tough time finding a good view and there was an incredibly boring wait with nothing going on between entering and the show actually starting. Lots of people craning their necks. When it did start though, it was a lot of fun.

Kyary came out in a "Furisodeshon" outfit with 2 guy and 2 gal dancers in bandit masks. She had some polkadot hanging banners in back and a CGI video projection that made nods to each song content but steered far clear of possibly distracting or overloading the audience. She spoke a bunch of common English phrases but resorted to an offstage interpreter for more complex remarks. She mentioned her NYC activity was seeing Blue Man Group and noted they were really blue. After a bunch of songs I was thinking, will she do a costume change? She went off and the giant bunny costume did a dance and then was pulled off stage by a stagehand. Then there was a Kyary history slide show that was kind of puzzling in that it wasn't that exciting. Like a power point show and it ended with something like "I bet some you know even more about Kyary". It did lightly touch on the subject that the "Furisodeshon" video (containing seeming drunkenness) had a disclaimer added after complaints not to imitate it.

Kyary came back in her new lavender dress. The Bunny came back once to dance with her for a song. At one point she announced she was doing Capsule's song "RGB" and the song structure was notably different than her own songs. She also announced her new song "Invader Invader".

At the next short break the preview to her "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu TV JOHN! vol 2" DVD was shown. It's on her website (in the same 5 minute clip edit) only at the show it had proper subtitles and a disclaimer that it was not available outside Japan (and an "awww" came from the audience). What the clips brought to mind was that at the live concert, Kyary was sort of being the kawaii ambassador on best behavior. In concert she was steering clear of anything that might be too over the top or seem weird or possibly impolite.

I was thinking it's about time for "Fashion Monster" and a new outfit. That's exactly what happened, though her new outfit had colorful Pegasus prints and was not at all goth. She seems to have performed almost every song that she had released and a couple extras. Always dancing. Definitely a proper length show. Near the end she had a good bye song with simple English lyrics of "Thank you Thank you" and something like "Hope to be back soon". The audience called her back for an encore and after singing she announced, she wanted a picture with the audience and that's now on her Fan Facebook page.

Live schedule:
4/21 "KAWAii MATSURi" @ Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (Tickets: Pia 623-302)
4/29 "TAKENOKO!!! - GW Special" w/ Nakata Yasutaka, FPM, etc. @ Shibuya Ekiato (Tickets: Pia 198-229)
5/10 @ *Scape Warehouse, Singapore
5/30 @ Shibuko, Shibuya (Tickets on sale 5/11, Pia 198-069)


"Fashion Monster"

"Kyary Pamyu Pamyu TV JOHN!" DVD 2 digest

GU (UNIQLO) TV commercial feat. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
(Song: "Invader Invader")

Tags: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (click for more info)

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