It was over three years ago when LM.C visited our shores, only to be met with bad luck in the form of heavy snow, and a lack of promotion. This gave many fans little hope for the band ever performing here again, but Maya and Aiji surprised many, and silenced the doubters when they announced the dates for their Strong Pop tour.

The venue, although small, served as a brilliantly intimate setting, and as the room began to fill, it felt very personal. Tensions began to rise high as the intro of ‘Be STRONG, Be Pop.’ kicked in and supporting members of the band took to the stage. The biggest cheers of course were reserved for Maya and Aiji’s entrances. The band burst straight into ‘Ah Hah!’, immediately getting everyone off the floor, and dancing around.

‘Baby Talk’, another track from Strong Pop, came afterward, which again, caused a lot of dancing and jumping, with a good chunk of the crowd singing along too. Between songs, Maya took time out to talk to the crowd, although with his very limited English, the audience was just happy for the interaction, including his comments on how it was “very f***in’ hot!”.

Old favorites such as ‘Ghost Heart’ and ‘Oh My Juliet’ followed, much to the audience’s glee, and allowed for more singalong time. Only 8 songs in came their latest interlude, ‘We are LM.C!!~The Anthem of Strong Pop~’ which although not quite starting a riot, did get the entire crowd bouncing about and throwing fists in the air.

The band continued to play songs from ‘Strong Pop’, but divided them up well with older tracks. In total, they did only play 3 songs from Gimmical Impact, which was a little disappointing for me personally, but with the quality of their performance, I couldn’t possibly stay too upset!

A big surprise for the audience was their amazing rendition of ‘@Funny Phantom@’, a song that had not been on the setlists of some previous shows this tour. It was a definite treat, and the audience involvement here was key, with everyone joining in with the ‘whoo-oo’-ing.

88 was a real highlight, with Maya asking if anyone knew what song was coming and if they could sing it, to which the crowd began to sing the opening lines straight back to him. The venue at this point felt as though it contained nothing but positivity, with the crowd singing their hearts out to one of the band’s most iconic songs.

Slowing it down after this was the beautiful ‘Nanimo Hajimaranakatta…’ which saw arms swaying in the air, and a good chunk of the crowd singing along. It really slowed down the pace, which made me feel as though the show was almost over, but boy, was I wrong!

After a short MC, the band hurtled through ‘The Love Song’, ‘Crazy a Go Go’ and ‘Let Me Crazy!!’. The venue by this point was even hotter than I could have possibly fathomed it would be, yet the crowd was still moving around and having a great time.

As they began to play ‘Hoshi no Arika’, it really did seem that this would be the last few songs. It proved a great close to a brilliant setlist, and only one thing could remain- the encore. It felt like the shortest time before the band came back on, to yet more screams, and plenty of tears of joy. Maya leaned down to the audience, and asked what they should play next, before asking a fan down the front, to which she replied with ‘Punky Heart’, so Maya declared that this is what they would play next. Another favorite from Wonderful Wonderholic, the song went down a storm with the already heat exhausted audience. Once it was over, again, Maya asked the audience what should be next, and that song was ‘Boys and Girls’. I didn’t think it could get much hotter, sweatier, and fun than it was, but I was proved wrong! The crowd still gave it their all, with each and every person jumping and singing, pouring their hearts and lungs out to the band.

Finally, there was only one song left, and it could only have been ‘Rock the LM.C’. A sweaty, fangirly storm blew up, and it was brilliant. Supporting members of the band paraded across the stage with huge flags, and Denki Man danced around. I never really expected an LM.C show to become riotous, but this was getting close! As the band finally took their bows for the last time, band members threw out picks and drumsticks, and Maya wore the message covered Union Jack flag given to the band by the fans. The crowd’s smiling faces reflected onto the band, and vice versa, creating a wholly happy, and almost magical atmosphere.

The band played a technically perfect show, with everything being pitch-perfect, despite the ridiculous heat. The setlist was long, and well set out, and proved to be a real treat for the fans, some of which had traveled from overseas for the opportunity to see them! There were some hilarious moments (including Maya telling a girl that she was in fact not a boy) and there really was nothing but ‘strong pop’ to be seen or heard. And before I close, I have to give kudos to LM.C’s fans, who for the most part, were the friendliest, and most considerate fans I have ever met. It was a real pleasure standing in that crowd, not just for the band, but the fans too. Wednesday night was truly a night that I won’t forget for a long time, and I’m sure the boys of LM.C won’t either! BE STRONG, BE POP!

Words by Ellen Wells

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