MIKA @ Forest National: Ca-ching!

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MIKA’s European appearance was characterized by his fluent command of Italian and French. He showed his fluent French for the first time on his recent album Que Ta Tête Fleurisse Toujours. Contrary to our expectations, it was striking that Vorst Nationaal was already full when we arrived to see MIKA at work. Nothing was mentioned in the communication about the event, but the disco set by the DJ on duty was an ideal reason to end the Easter brunch quietly with some swing. The uptempo disco hits were predictable, but the DJ still gave them an interactive twist by manually changing the tempo and volume. From behind the scenes, MIKA could perhaps already see how the audience wanted to be entertained, and that would only increase throughout the rest of the evening.

© CPU – Marvin Anthony

When the curtains opened, it seemed as if the devil himself was locked in his cage and had only one mission on Easter Sunday: dancing to remove the bars. The French “Bougez” had an exuberant build-up as the opener that determined the further course of the show. MIKA lives for the attention of its audience and did not disappoint. Together with his four-piece band – dressed entirely in pink – he took Vorst on a journey of more than two hours of extravaganza. Despite his physical exuberance, it was noticeable that there was often a tape running along. We could only guess whether he always sang live because his microphone was sometimes quite far away from his singing organ. However, the movable stage elements ensured that the band members did not disappear into the background. Although MIKA did not mention their names, the musical direction was in professional hands.

Each track was given a theatrical twist, both musically and production-wise. Even the least adventurous, recent songs provided the necessary excitement. As if we weren’t warmed up enough by the heat, the flamboyant frontman made playful, sexy comments. “Sweetie banana” was the most explicit example of this. MIKA peeled away the audience, as it were, and then baptized them into his legion of “l’enfants terribles”. Prepared as thousands of people were, all arms raised into the air or from the stands they vibrated the arena by drumming their feet. This way we were completely immersed in the overwhelming sound of “Underwater”, which could otherwise be so subdued and was played out like a stadium anthem. The same went for the classic “Relax, Take It Easy,” which featured MIKA’s high jumps and funky guitars.

© CPU – Marvin Anthony

For this occasion, the Studio 100 Pop-Up Theater was in Vorst instead of Puurs. Technical glitches can always happen, but the bombastic build-up to “Grace Kelly” ended in a minor key when the sound system failed. The fervent dance steps now had to make way for his eloquence. MIKA stood firm and allowed the spectacle to continue smoothly without any restraint. With “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” he turned into a butterfly that looked straight into the audience’s eyes from the stage to the stands. He then locked himself in a circle with a select group of fans who were allowed to be part of the show through submitted pancartes. Their happiness could not be beat and the singer seemed to be exactly a guardian angel for them. The presence of the white grand piano enhanced that feeling.

However, in Club Apocalypso we didn’t need wings to get off the ground. For more than thirty seconds, Vorst turned into a sweaty disco from an exotic place. By dedicating himself entirely to physical exuberance, he would have been better off forgoing the minimal pyrotechnic effects, or instead inviting the necessary guest singers for “Happy Ending”. We didn’t have to take out our handkerchiefs. The show was far from over. “Love Today,” with its rocking outro, was the equivalent of Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You,” which was first enlivened by the driving beat of New Order’s “Blue Monday.” MIKA continued the pop rollercoaster like this, but was also racing against time.

© CPU – Marvin Anthony

The article is in Dutch

Tags: MIKA Forest National Caching

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