Katherine Villalon
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The mainstream audience probably first heard of MIYAVI from his breakout role in the movie Unbroken back in 2014, but he is also an extremely talented guitarist. Known for his finger-slap guitar playing, the Samurai Guitarist has been rocking out on stage for almost 2 decades. Not to mention this multifaceted artist is also a father of two as well as an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Back in March MIYAVI and his crew kicked off their DAY2 World Tour which took them throughout Asia and Europe before performing across North America. AXS was able to attend the final performance of the North American leg at Irving Plaza in New York and here are five reasons you should see MIYAVI in concert.

1) MIYAVI has a great stage presence

MIYAVI has been performing for a long time and it shows in his stage presence. He is able to move around freely with a guitar strapped to him as if it was just an extension of himself. His interaction with the audience was also spot on; encouraging the audience to jump and clap as he flashed a bright smile. The audience was immediately singing and dancing along with MIYAVI as he performed “Flashback” and “Dancing with my Fingers.”  

2) His music is innovative and constantly evolving

With every artist, music evolves over time. Recently releasing Samurai Sessions Vol. 2 and All Time Best Day 2, MIYAVI has brought in different sounds and artists to work with him to create a unique sound that meld the electric sounds of the guitar with that of a DJ and synthesizer. For this tour, MIYAVI was joined on stage with not only his longtime drummer Bobo, but also DJ Jonny Litten (who also worked with MIYAVI on the album Fire Bird), and singers Seann Bowe and Heather Ogilvy. Each support member did their part to amplify the quality of the performance, allowing MIYAVI to play freely to the audience.   

3) He has a crazy awesome playing style

You cannot watch MIYAVI perform and not talk about his playing style. The signature finger-slapping is awe-inspiring when witnessed live. When MIYAVI took center stage with songs like “STRONG,” the signature finger-slapping is prominent.  

4)The music sends a great message

As an immigrant in the United States, MIYAVI spoke about how music can be used to bring people that have many differences together. Throughout the performance, he took time out to talk about his work with refugees and how it is important for us as human beings to be aware and active towards fixing not only issues with the refugee crisis but also the hate and violence that occurs in our own country. These messages can be felt as “The Others” and “Youth of the Nation” were being performed.

5) Passionate fans create a fun experience

It goes without saying that MIYAVI is an excellent performer. But another aspect that made the live fun was the fans. Everyone was jumping, dancing, and singing along to many of the songs. That energy that the crowd emitted really riled up MIYAVI as he went literally above and beyond for the last song of the night, “What’s My Name,” where he climbed off the stage onto an outcrop right below the balcony. The fans went wild and as the show closed out you could really see how much MIYAVI and his fans really appreciated each other.

MIYAVI is continuing his tour with stops in South America. Hopefully, MIYAVI will return soon with new music and another chance to see him live.