To convince the audience as a solo musician is quite a big task and probably also quite scary. Haru Nemuri was for many an unknown name before she hopped on a plane to Europe. She did gain the attention in Japan with her debut album, the same album she promoted in Europe by means of a vinyl release via Specific Recordings. Due to the modest promotion of her European tour and album on vinyl, it was waiting and see if there would be any audience at all at the shows. But there was definitely an audience at the shows of singer-songwriter and poetryrapper Haru Nemuri.
The European tour was supported by a number of shows at festivals, which made it easier to reach an audience. And from that point on the ball started rolling. Since Haru Nemuri is active on social media and proudly shared photos of her performances in Europe, the news reached more and more people that her performances are kind of special. If these people wanted to know exactly what kind of music she makes, they could watch the many music videos she has published. Although her music videos give an idea of what Haru Nemuri is capable of, these videos don’t seem to give much indication of what her performances are all about.
Her show on the red ship V11 in Rotterdam was her second Dutch show and the second show on a sailing object (although not really sailing). A unique experience for the singer-songwriter, because this is not something she experienced in Japan. A crowded Belly Bar, people are full of expectation for the upcoming gig, some managed to avoid the crowd by standing on the benches on the side or on the stairs. A good sign that the show was sold out. In front of them, a young lady stood dressed in a long dress printed with what looks like black paint stains, black shoes and two braids in her hair. Before she started, she took the calmness. Haru Nemuri was ready, but was the audience ready?
They witnessed a performance in which the musician barely stopped for a moment because she was on stage making dance moves and rotations, just didn’t get tangled up with the cord of her microphone, to show the audience that they don’t necessarily have to stand still during her performance. “I can’t dance, but I like to dance.” Haru Nemuri encouraged the audience to dance too, just dance as they please as here is the dancefloor according to Haru Nemuri. “Dance, dance more with me!” But that wasn’t all you could expect from her performance. While the audience was totally absorbed in her music, they were spectators of how Haru Nemuri jumped into the audience, climbed up the bar or even up the stairs and was even carried on their hands, literally, several times, by the audience. As the ceiling is low, such a crowd-surfing action is still quite tricky. While Haru Nemuri is resting on a wave of hands, she was able to easily avoid the hanging dangers on the ceiling.
The performance wasn’t tedious at all, since Haru showed the audience how to entertain. The spectators held their breath as she performed her poetry and were surprised by her screams, which were full of emotion that could be heard at another time. Her audience became more and more active and responded more and more enthusiastically to her calls. “It’s hot, if it wasn’t, it’s not a good show”. But perhaps the most beautiful thing of all, which is probably why Haru Nemuri managed to touch so many hearts, she was sincerely grateful to the audience that she managed to attract. She was really glad to see that many people came to see her live. Her charm reached the entire venue, in all corners. After thirteen tracks Haru Nemuri asked the audience if she could play another song. The audience didn’t say no to that. It ended with a track that she doesn’t always do live, which made the performance a bit more special, even though it was already pretty exceptional.
It is very impressive that a singer, who with her songs that contain the themes that are identifiable for many young Japanese people, was able to perform mainly in sold-out concert halls during her first European tour. Her music has no limits, Haru Nemuri proved during this tour. With her refreshing approach in her music and presence on stage, Haru Nemuri knows how to bring diversity to her performances and keep the audience involved. Her modesty ensures that the audience will embrace her fast and her surprising actions will not be forgotten.
Photography: Francisca Hagen