Mika, Roundhouse, London

2.00

Sugary pop too sweet to digest

Being the adventure of a man whose principal interests are Queen, glitter and, quite possibly, Beethoven, tonight's concluding gig of the iTunes festival sees Lebanon-born singer-songwriter Mika decked out in a black eye make-up and white overalls combo deliberately reminiscent of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. As sartorial allusions go, it's pitched a little high, perhaps, for the army of young teenagers who, crammed 20-deep against the Roundhouse's metal barrier, spend the show expressing their unbridled ecstasy at witnessing 2007's unlikely pop star du jour crash through his hits with an energy that borders on the absurd.

 

In fact, if there's one fair criticism of tonight's performance, it's that it lacks the light and shade of his more musically accomplished contemporaries; beginning with forthcoming single "We Are Golden", there is little chance to take stock of the 13-song set, during which the star seems to spend as much time stood on top of the centre-stage keyboard clapping his hands in the air as he does using it to play along to songs like "Blame it on the Girls" and "Dr John". The latter, a new song from the star's forthcoming second album (also entitled We are Golden) garners one of the warmest receptions of the night, despite its unfamiliarity to the audience.

There is particularly fulsome applause for "Big Girls (You Are Beautiful)", and the torrent of adulation continues throughout as the crowd are showered with glitter and man-size balloons in what at points feels like an attempt to cover up some of the lyrical and musical shortcomings of a set that is generous with enthusiasm but light on any real emotional engagement. In a stupefying whirlwind of nonsense words and repetition, "Love Today" sees the crowd battered with the line "Everybody's gonna love today, gonna love today, gonna love today" until the ceaseless adulation emanating from the crowd inspires an odd kind of pity at such ineloquence, and a feeling that perhaps in recent history pop music as a genre has short-changed its fans ruthlessly.

If his first album, Life in Cartoon Motion, released when Mika was 23, was his "schoolyard record" as he's claimed, and the second an apparent tribute to the difficulties of being a teenager, then it follows that we will be waiting at least another eight years for something reflecting his life at the moment. Although it's sad that he's out of step, it does suggest why this nostalgic, non-threatening pop has such appeal to younger audiences. At times it's shameless indulgence with all the tasteful depth of a luminescent paddling pool, but something in it has driven 2,000 young fans to scale heights of adulation normally reserved for much bigger stars. For that alone, Mika demands respect, and it's impossible not to feel slightly moved by the sincerity with which the star conducts himself over an evening typified by the overwhelming delivery of such underwhelming material.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food