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MIKA Returns To Los Angeles For His 'Origin Of Love' Tour

Ashley Riegle, Taylor A. Johnson |
March 31, 2013 | 7:24 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

MIKA performed a sold out show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles to promote his latest album, “The Origin of Love,” Wednesday night.

In a room full of flamboyant fans, hipsters and Dita Von Teese, MIKA took the stage amidst screams and applause. There was no formal opening act. Instead, tour DJs spun Beach Boys, Motown, Lykke Li and Iconapop tunes while the audience sipped on drinks and danced.

MIKA's light-bulb-galore stage (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
MIKA's light-bulb-galore stage (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
The “Origin of Love” show was more intimate than many of MIKA’s previous tours in which he has performed at very large venues. Individual glowing light bulbs were suspended from the ceiling around the stage. The set was minimalistic and basic to say the least. Most of the night, MIKA remained seated at his piano crunching out the notes with passion. “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” sure can play…and sing.  As great as his voice may sound in recordings, it is unbelievably smooth live. His vocal range is beyond impressive, as he is able to hit high notes with ease and perfection. There didn’t seem to be one sour note or missed lyric.

The crowd was made up by people of all ages- a group of three, twelve-year-old female fans were by far the youngest. Most people were in their twenties, though there were some as old as 60 in attendance.

When attendees were dancing, they were dancing hard. Given the performance of ballads and new songs that have not been performed in North America, it was not the crazy dance party that other set lists might inspire.

When he stood up and really leaned in and began dancing with the audience, he became more electrified. It would have been great to see more of that interaction, however his presentation style was in keeping with the songs he played.

Prior to the concert, Neon Tommy Reporters Ashley Riegle and Taylor Johnson interviewed MIKA about the tour, in wich MIKA revealed how he is “Grace Kelly,” “Billy Brown,” and the “Lollipop” Girl, and he brought all those characters to the show Wednesday. 

MIKA opened with hit song and crowd favorite “Grace Kelly,” from his first album “Life In Cartoon Motion,” which was followed by “Toy Boy” from his sophomore album, “The Boy Who Knew Too Much.” 

MIKA at the piano (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
MIKA at the piano (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
The quirky and peppy “Lollipop” from the first album was next and had the crowd snapping along. MIKA then switched back to a tune from his second album with “Blue Eyes,” and back to the first album with “Billy Brown.” He sang every song impeccably, but in the midst of playing songs from the first two albums, the crowd did not get to hear “Happy Ending” or “We Are Golden,” unfortunately. This was likely a great disappointment to the super fans sporting a trio of neon shirts emblazoned with home-made “We Are Golden” messages.

When it came time for songs off the new album, he began with “Popular Song,” which is a take on the infamous “Popular” from Wicked. On MIKA’s album the song features Priscilla Renea, but the single version of the song features Nickelodeon star, Ariana Grande. Neither of the singers made a guest appearance for the performance, but MIKA had the crowd singing along to every word.

MIKA then poked fun at his managers, publisher, and other entourage in the VIP “sitting section,” and said how he was told to just write a “zippy” song that will make him a lot of money, but instead he decided to write “Love You When I’m Drunk,” which he then performed.  The song had everyone yelling, “I only love you when I’m drunk!” In other words, it was a blast. 

“The Only Lonely Man,” a new song for the tour, was next, which was a little reminiscent of The Lumineers’ track, “Ho Hey,” with its “heys” and “hos.”

During Neon Tommy’s interview with him, MIKA indicated that during a portion of his concerts he would take requests from audience members. That didn’t seem to take place at the El Rey show, although he was quite interactive with the audience and called out to some fans in the crowd.

“Underwater,” “Stuck In the Middle,” and “Elle Me Dit,” the French version of his song, “Emily,” followed. "Under Water" was powerful and borderline exquisite. He performed a song about California and dropped the best line of the night, “California…you’re full of under-dressed billionaires, so far from London…I love you." Incredible. 

MIKA singing "Underwater" beneath a single, swaying light bulb (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
MIKA singing "Underwater" beneath a single, swaying light bulb (Neon Tommy/Taylor Johnson).
MIKA’s performance of “Origin of Love” exuded all the emotion of the meaning behind the title.  It felt very fitting to hear this ballad while the US Supreme Court was in the midst of evaluating marriage equality.

While singing “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful),” he told the “skinny girls” in the audience to “sing it like you mean it!”

A pretty amazing, fairly unknown song of MIKA’s, “Century Man,” was performed next. The history of this song is somewhat mysterious, though it may have been recorded for a film he is working on.

MIKA’s live performance of his first single, “Relax, Take It Easy,” showed off his purely awesome voice and its remarkablyhigh range. He finished up the show with “Celebrate,” and other hit song, “Love Today,” in which he got up from the piano and did a little tap dancing.  MIKA does not lack in originality nor talent.

Reach Staff Reporter Ashley Riegle here. Reach Staff Reporter Taylor A. Johnson here.



 

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Comments

GinevraDahl (not verified) on April 2, 2013 9:59 AM

“The Only Lonely Man,” a new song for the tour, was next, which was a little reminiscent of The Lumineers’ track, “Ho Hey,” with its “heys” and “hos.”

Now, just for the sake of truth, Only Lonely Man was written way before Lumineer's Ho Hey.
Still, great review, thanks!

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