Let's rewind before her set, though. My friend Danika and I arrived earlyish and got our tickets as soon as we got there. The costumes were just as nuts as last year and the free hugs were still going around. As I had already witnessed the weird and random that is Animé Expo, it didn't faze me as much. After we got our tickets we went outside to try and find iMMa to see what time she was on, but alas! She was not there yet. We waited around for a bit, but decided to go back inside and check back later. As we were climbing up the stairs to go into the merchandise hall, we heard a "hello" behind us. Danika was worried it might be a weird random and was ready to run for the hills, but as we turned around we discovered it was Jimmy!! (Jimmy being Mika's bass player, do I have to say this everytime I mention him in a blog?! While I'm at it, iMMa is also Mika's backing singer.) Jimmy greeted us with a smile and a lovely hug, and told us he had already been here 20 minutes and the poor guy was on his own! So, he tagged along with us.
As we wandered inside, we talked about the costumes, the vibe and what we all thought of it. There was someone in an alien costume from "Alien VS Predator" which, despite knowing there was someone inside it, was still rather intimidating. The alien went for Jimmy first and then me afterwards (it must only like gingers). I started to try and run away from it much to Danika and Jimmy's amusement, so Jimmy decided it would be a cool idea to take a picture of me with the alien. Thanks. Thanks Jimmy. *thumbs up*
After that encounter, we meandered around every section staring at the Japanese sweets, drawings, artists, books etc. We must have been in there about half an hour before iMMa phoned Jimmy to let him know of her arrival. We then went back outside to say hello and watch her perform!
iMMa was all smiles as always as she welcomed us with a hug. The day before the gig I had baked some cookies (as iMMa couldn't make The Chain House Gig and missed out on the cupcakes and Victoria Sponge) and they went down really well!! Everyone really loved them which I was so happy with, as my first attempt at cookie making went terribly wrong! Phew!
Not long after it was time for iMMa to perform, so, armed with my camera I managed to record all of her songs! I've been to quite a few of her gigs and this was the best crowd yet. The audience were really engaged with her and were fist pumping, jumping up and down...there was a lot of connection and energy; the type of crowd that iMMa really deserves. She beckoned them over and they all came running along like the mice (or rats?) enticed by the Pied Piper and squashed themselves up against the stage! iMMa's interaction with the audience was brilliant as she directed them what to sing and at what moments, what actions to do, and they followed her every word. You could tell iMMa has having a blast as she jumped off the stage and started to rave with her new fans! It was great (and amusing) to watch, and I couldn't have been happier for her. The gig went so well.
Here are the videos so you can watch them!
Good Girls and Bad Boys
I'm Just a Nobody (Trying To Be a Somebody)
Unfortunately this is where the video quality goes downhill. I forgot to charge my video recorder and it was really low on battery at the end of the last song, so I had to use my photo camera instead. Yes, I know the sound is pretty rubbish, but you get what you're given and you'll like it, so there!
Tear Out My Heart
After her set, I walked up to iMMa to let her I know I had it all recorded and we had a bit of a small chat. Eventually some of her new fans came over and were asking for pictures and talking to her, which was really nice to see. iMMa said she thinks she's found her niche audience! I left her to it and returned to Danika, Jimmy and our latest addition, the lovely Cherisse!! She's also in Mika's band and plays the drums. She's an absolute sweetheart and also loved my cookies (and about my height too) so obviously she's awesome.
The next band Instrumenti are from Latvia, and they opened Mika's show in Latvia a while ago. iMMa is good friends with them and I believe managed to get them the gig here. iMMa, Cherisse and Jimmy absolutely love the band so I was curious to see what they were like. The lead singer came out in the weirdest large black wig I have ever seen and the drummer came out wearing a Panda mask. As they sang their first two songs I have to admit I wasn't entirely sure if it was my thing, but from the 3rd song onwards the music became more pop-like and found myself tapping my toes along to the beats. The last song was my favourite and it's clearly a favourite of iMMa's too, as you can see her rocking her brains out in this video!
We chilled and talked for a bit before deciding to head inside the merchandise store and actually shop!!!
Despite it being predominantely Japanese, the only things I bought were Korean!! I bought 2 posters of the ever so luscious Yunho who is in the Korean group Dong Bang Shin Ki (he's also my boyfriend, he just doesn't know it yet), a mug with all five members of the same group (despite the fact they have now split and there is only 2 left) and a SHINee key chain. The group broke up and met up several times as everyone was browsing at different stalls. I showed off the posters of my boyfriend (cough) and talked to the lovely Macc Kano - stand in guitarist for iMMa that day - about Japanese and Korean bands. It's nice to actually have something in common with someone quite normal, because let's face it, some of the people who go to these conventions are a bit...well...kooky, shall we say.
Jimmy left shortly after and then so did iMMa. We said our goodbyes and it was just Danika and I left in the building. We collected our anime portraits and then we departed for home ourselves.
It was an absolutely terrific day; so relaxed and casual. Thanks so much to everyone for your fantastic company, it was great to meet new people and well done for a great gig, iMMa!
Here are some photos:
|Singer from Instrumenti's wild wig|
|Surprise!! It's Cherisse and iMMa!|
|Changmin and Yunho|
|Mickey and Jaejoong|
|My Yunho poster!|
|Second Yunho poster...please excuse me while I drool.|
|Animé portraits: Me on the left, Danika on the right!|
|My SHINee keyring!|
Thanks for reading!