Mika turns up the heat, takes it off at First Avenue

By Elias Tezapsidis

On February 6th the recently acclaimed singer Mica Penniman, widely known as Mika, was performing at First Avenue in Minneapolis. The Beirut-born, London raised singer has been the center of attention of the musical scene for the past two years, providing his distinctive voice to songs of an ambivalent and controversial nature. Numerous comparisons have been made to the likes of Freddy Mercury and Elton John, mostly on the basis of his falsettos and high-pitched vocals. Mika, like artists such as Bj”rk, has a characteristic sound that makes you know right away if you love or hate him; there’s no middle ground. However, even if you hate him, his live performance deserves attention. His voice is crystal clear, his dancing capabilities noteworthy, and his energy level admirable. You do not have to be familiar with his album “Life in Cartoon Motion” to enjoy his performances.

The concert lasted a little longer than an hour, and Mika sang all the tracks on his album. The concert was open to all ages, which made this concert very interesting for concertgoers. In front of me there was a group of 30 year-olds that knew all of Mika’s songs lyrics by heart, but behind me I found young children complaining about the fact that the tall old men were blocking their view of the stage. This goes to show that Mika’s music is appreciated by all ages.

The crowd clearly idolized Mika as enthusiam soared during his most popular beats “Relax,” “Love Today,” “Lollipop,” and my personal favorite, “Big Girl (You are Beautiful).” Why was “Big Girl” the highlight of the concert? Because a dozen overweight women entered the stage and started dancing with Mika making the songs lyrics a reality. At the same time a huge balloon of a plus-sized woman was blown up next to the stage, right at the instant Mika sang “Big girls you are beautiful, walks in to the room feels like a big balloon.” The irony of seeing scrawny Mika dedicating this song to the luscious “big girls” was worth the trip to First Ave.

Mika gave a passionate performance; and at one point, got rid of his signature silver suit while being worshipped by the crowd. But even his metallic ensemble was outshined by his dancing and the cartoon décors on the stage’s background. Before the grand finale, which came with the lyrical masterpiece “Lollipop,” a play of shadows took place on stage, and for the first time bunnies ate a wolf. Mika is the one making the rules in his cartoon world; he decides who shall be the prey and who shall be the carnivore.

Above all, First Ave became a big playground for Mika and his fans. The colorful, playful theme of the concert invited the entire audience to sing along and dance. By the end, huge balloons and confetti were flying over our heads; all of us became part of Mika’s “life in cartoon motion.” Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di.