FEMM + MIKUROMIKA @ Boston Music Room, London – 21st July 2022

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Two of Japan’s most interesting artists have teamed up for a four-date jaunt across the UK (culminating with appearances at this year’s HyperJapan). In a case of East meeting West, tonight’s opener MIKUROMIKA draws inspiration from Japanese R&B legend MISIA and melds it to an aesthetic that owes much to the likes of Cindy Lauper and Lady Gaga. Needless to say, the resulting sound is suitably euphoric and the aptly-titled ‘Mikuropop’ is an opener that sends shards of glistening sound in every direction. There’s something very uplifting and life affirming about tracks such as ‘Good Day’ and ‘Take Action!!’ (so much so, that they should be prescribed on the NHS) and there’s not a soul present who’s not uplifted by Mika Mikuro’s unbridled effervescence and ‘Color Of Money’ caps a highly-charged, energetic set.

Proceeded by an elongated introduction which ramps the tension up to almost unbearable levels, self-described “real-life mannequins”, FEMM (Far East Mention Mannequins) are an intriguing proposition. Two vocalists, Honey B and W Trouble, (who act as mouthpieces for models RiRi and Lula respectively) FEMM are recyclers of popular culture, but rather than just regurgitating what has gone before, they reassemble their influences in new form, and the result is an hour-long performance which demands your full attention throughout.

With little fanfare, this pairing appear on stage and stand totally statuesque, and hold those poses for such a prolonged period that it makes you wonder if they really are human. Framed by laser beams that fill the Boston Music Room with neon blues and pinks, ‘We Flood The Night’ makes for an interesting overture as RiRi and LuLa move with minimalist, robotic movements, as if a pair of breakdancers sent to our present from the year 1982. However, as their set progresses their movements become more animated (and organic) and they turn the venue into a sea of clapping hands, and the crowd are whipped into more of a frenzy as their set continues. The faithful who’re packed in front of the stage slavishly copy the band’s moves, whilst others wave glow-sticks to add to the cornucopia of colour which illuminates the venue like a cathedral.

With their porcelain skin and cute outfits FEMM cut a rather twee persona, yet appearances can be deceptive and ‘FxxK Boyz Get Money’ packs an aggressive punch, but it doesn’t seem out of place next to the more sedate ‘Falling For A Lullaby’. ‘We Got Each Other’ makes for the perfect closer, but FEMM return for the well-earned encores, the second of which, Wannabe, finds them departing in a blaze of light. Which exactly where they came in…

FEMM Set List:

  1. We Flood The Night
  2. Astroboy
  3. Kill The DJ
  4. Dead Wrong
  5. The Real Thing
  6. Come&Go
  7. Plastic
  8. PoW!
  9. Peach
  10. Tokyo Girls Anthem
  11. Sugar Rush
  12. FxxK Boyz Get Money
  13. Falling For A Lullaby
  14. We Got Each Other

Encores:

  1. Crawl
  2. Wannabe

MIKUROMIKA Set List:

  1. Mikuropop
  2. Product Boy
  3. Good Day
  4. Take Action!!
  5. Baby
  6. Ocean
  7. HITORI
  8. Color Of Melody

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