At 8:50pm, the line around the Fonda Theater seemed endless and the one-person-manned merch counter seemed submerged in a sea of “pixels.” On this Saturday night, the Fonda was sold-out and everyone was here for Rina Sawayama. Sawayama is an alt-pop queen in the making without question, just ask her loyal fanbase, cleverly named “pixels,” who has been eagerly waiting for this tour for the last two years.
Dressed in high fashion’s latest, the life size Japanese-British my scene doll can do no wrong. With the energy of 90’s Britney Spears paired with the walk of a runway model and a vocal range to die for, Sawayama knows how to demand a crowd.
Rina Sawayama’s tour stop at the Fonda Hollywood was accompanied by by synth pop siren, HANA. The Pixels got an added treat with an opening set by the multifaceted artist. Performing her cult hit “We Appreciate Power” — a collaboration with Grimes — HANA showcased her power vocals in a sultry performance, fans were left waiting for her next single release.
“I’m a dynasty.”
As soon as Rina Sawayama walked on stage in an all-red power suit and matching heels, the room was roared with pure excitement. Accompanied by two dancers and Sawayama all women band, the opening scene screamed glistened with female empowerment and endless opulence.
Those first suspenseful six minutes were a grand statement piece to jolt us all into Rina Sawayama’s world and to get the crowd ready for the next hour of power hits and endless dance grooves.
“STFU!, “Come Des Garçon”, “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome,” and my personal favorite “Akasaka Sad” are just some of the 30+ songs she sang at the Fonda. But it’s the moment Sawayama started singing “Chosen Family,” that really highlighted her star power. Eyes were glistening with tears as friends and loved ones embraced each other as they recited the words:
“We don’t need to be related to relate
We don’t need to share genes or a surname
You are, you are
My chosen, chosen family.”
It’s a beautiful ode to the LGBTQ+ community and to her fans who have found solace within their friends, communities and safe spaces through life’s tough times.
If I wasn’t a fan before, I am now. Time for all of us to binge Rina Sawayama’s music. ASAP.
Photography & Words by Asha Moné