A gray Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles marked the second stop in Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “WORLD TOUR 2023 -POPPP-”. Contrasting the dull overcast, a motley assembly in palettes of glitter ascended two flights of stairs to The Novo theater, where the diva of kawaii awaited to dowse each fan with her delightful brand of electropop.


Inside, Tokyo-based French DJ Moe Shop leaps to the turntables to open the evening, enrapturing the crowd with an infectious trance. Faces beam as the nonstop soundscape weaves in the recent remix of Kyary’s second single CANDY CANDY. “This is already way better than anything I’ve seen. Way better!” A new convert gushes to his neighbors, his hands flowing high.

Moe Shop opens for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s LA showNori (JROCK NEWS)

As the video backdrop narrates the quest of “The Pink Princess” to transform the color into a symbol of diversity and sustainability, Kyary herself marches onto stage with her four rosy dancers to her intro theme DE.BA.YA.SHI. 2021. In response, the audience emphatically chants, “K-Y-A-R-Y!” They then strap in for the lead track off her fifth and most recent album Candy Racer.

Kyary takes the wheel for “Candy Racer”Nori (JROCK NEWS)

The joyride segues into frenetic beatboxing in Dodonpa, sending ripples across the floor from the entire hall bouncing in unison. After pausing to greet LA and fielding some flattery about recent life updates, Kyary asks, “Do you know Ninjas? Shinobi? Steve Aoki?” and digs into Ninja Re Bang Bang (Steve Aoki Remix), the tie-up feature for the Nintendo Switch game Ninjala.

Kyary takes center stage flanked by dancers amane (left) and SORa-N (right)Nori (JROCK NEWS)

Shifting gears, back-to-back classics Tsukema Tsukeru and Cherry Bonbon emerge from the first studio full-length and 2011 debut EP, respectively. Following a brief dance tutorial, Kyary ushers the call-and-response for Minna no Uta and a cover of jelly by CAPSULE, producer Yasutaka Nakata’s own electronica band. The curtains come down on the first act with the bizarre proclamation of world conquest Invader Invader and Kyary’s original take of CANDY CANDY.

Kyary dances along to “Ninja Re Bang Bang (Steve Aoki Remix)”Nori (JROCK NEWS)

During the break, a video interlude guides Kyary’s guests through a virtual tour of her history as a fashion ambassador. There’s barely any time for the irresistibly absurdist and kawaii spectacle to sink in before Kyary reenters the spotlight, this time in a neon pink one-piece and a horned beast mask. The concert reaches fever pitch as Kyary, flanked by her four dancers, takes center stage to swipe at the air for her signature anthem Fashion Monster.

The second act offers more a blend of old and new, with the martial-arts-flick inspired Gum Gum Girl, the happy-go-lucky Kira Kira Killer, and 2022 digital singles Maybe Baby and Isshin Doutai. Despite all the pleas not to stop, Kyary regrettably closes the loop on the main set: The climactic ode Harajuku Iyahoi guides everyone back to the fashion sanctuary that started it all for her.

Kyary and her crew dance the night away, keeping spirits highNori (JROCK NEWS)

Kyary returns just moments later in an adorably quaint dress and shawl (still pink!) to kick off the encore with her original smash hit PONPONPON. Then, just as she had always closed all her headlining shows, she bids farewell to LA with her goodbye song Chan Chaka Chan Chan, with a special instrumental stretch to thank Moe Shop and dancers ANRI, SORa-N, amane, and Hiyori, who had been popping and twirling all night with impeccable synchrony.

Kyary thanks all her LA fans who made it to The NovoNori (JROCK NEWS)


The Kawaii Princess’s eclectic worldview and inclusive philosophy on self-expression clearly reflected on those who journeyed to see her. With equal representation across age groups, ethnicities, and gender identities, her SoCal fans made up one of the most broad and diverse gatherings at a Jpop performance. Kyary’s stature and mass appeal is without doubt a remarkable feat that all artists, Japanese or otherwise, should admire.

Kyary draws a diverse crowd at her second world tour stopNori (JROCK NEWS)

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “WORLD TOUR 2023 -POPPP-“ continues onward to Chicago on May 19, Barcelona on June 2, Paris on June 5, London on June 7, and concludes in Madrid on June 9. The Barcelona and Madrid shows will take place at Primavera Sound, one of the largest music fests in Europe.


Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at The Novo, Los Angeles, Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Setlist

  1. DE. BA. YA. SHI. 2021
  2. Candy Racer
  3. Dodonpa
  4. Ninja Re Bang Bang (Steve Aoki Remix)
  5. Tsukema Tsukeru
  6. Cherry Bonbon
  7. Minna no Uta
  8. jelly (CAPSULE cover)
  9. CANDY CANDY
  10. Invader Invader
  11. Fashion Monster
  12. Gum Gum Girl
  13. Kira Kira Killer (Extended Mix)
  14. Maybe Baby
  15. Isshin Doutai
  16. Harajuku Iyahoi

Encore

  1. PONPONPON
  2. Chan Chaka Chan Chan

Featured image: ©︎ Maya Kuraki

Update 2023-06-25: This article has been updated to clarify DJ Moe Shop’s nationality.

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