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- Camden Dingwalls, »
- Mika »
The all-skipping, all-hopping, Lebanese-born Mika arrives on stage like a returning hero who’s just solved world poverty, cleansed the environment, and eaten a substantial portion of medals for breakfast. Such is the reaction this tousle-haired prince of pomp receives, it’s easy to forget that his first single was only released at the beginning of October. So, why the excitement? Why the delirium? Why, in the case of the girl standing next to me, the uncontrollable bum movements? Well, the boy can sing.
Not fucking Little Man Tate sing, more like, "watch me open my mouth and hit _this note"_ sing. Mika’s voice falls somewhere between Jake Shears’ falsetto – although Mika’s is better – and Freddie Mercury’s more breathless timbre. Following a lengthy tenure at London’s Royal Opera School, his vocals are unsurprisingly well-honed and are without doubt the focal point of tonight’s show.
He can write, too. His obvious love for Elton John’s late-seventies, disco-tinged output and Queen’s buoyant piano-led tracks (think ‘Killer Queen’ and ‘You’re My Best Friend’) has given the brace-wearing one a solid line in glammed-up, high-camp rock songs. ‘Stuck In The Middle’ and debut 45 ‘Relax (Take It Easy)’ are the most enjoyable examples paraded out to Dingwalls’ crowd. But as with many musicians with a penchant for the theatrical, Mika and his band of session players unwisely decide to take things too far and slam straight into a brick wall with an absurdly self-indulgent and hugely boring ballad called ‘Over My Shoulder’. If there was ever a song written for the sole purpose of allowing people to piss – apart from Sting’s ‘Fields Of Gold’ – this is it.
Things do pick up again afterwards, and the set comes to a bouncing close with the soon-to-be-ubiquitous ‘Grace Kelly’ – great on record, undercooked live – and a "live-only" ditty called ‘Lollipop’ that sees Mika snapping his braces and wiggling his wrists like he's in the middle of an NYC fashion circle, circa 1978.
Musically, he's more often than not successful: most of tonight's songs are instantly catchy and obviously danceable. However, his OTT arrangements and soaring vocals will undoubtably have a large proportion of his listeners reeling from the invasive nature of stomping piano and a man singing in a girl’s voice - ha. That, and the inevitable and probably unfair accusations of jumping on the Scissor Sisters/Feeling bandwagon.
Such doubts aside, though, this is fine Friday night fare.
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