The Japanese House // KOKO. London // 17.05.2017
As I left my East London home, I was greeted with a rainy evening on my journey to Camden’s Koko. The Japanese House’s latest headline tour was set to be the biggest to date. After supporting The 1975 on their arena tour, twenty-one year old Amber Bain’s fanbase has begun to expand rapidly. Aided by her three bandmates, her trusty Voicelive Extreme and an eclectic range of JHS pedals, Bain took to the stage. The trademark sounds of her 80’s-inspired experimental pop made the venue shake. Following an extended ethereal intro, the band began to play ‘Clean’, the single and title track from their second EP.
Despite not being a confident stage speaker, Bain admitted three times to being very emotional as Koko was her largest headline show to date. The audience were generally calm and respectful to her performance. There’s certainly something entrancing about Bain’s soft stage presence and quiet passion for her music. Despite a few disturbances, the band rolled through some of their well known songs including ‘Still’ and ‘Sugar Pill’. Bain took a moment to express her connection with the track ‘Leon’ a song from her latest EP – Swim Against the Tide. The moving synths and lyrical story of a conflicting love provoked the audience to quietly sing along, as if lost in a moment they wished could last. However, the evening was not without its humorous moments, as Ms. Bain introduced the wrong song on three separate occasions. Whilst admittedly not sold out, the crowd remained rather mellow until the danceable electronica of ‘Face Like Thunder’ along with others re-awoke them.
The band led the show to its nearing close with the infectious song entitled ‘Saw You in a Dream’. Composed of significantly less vocal layers, the track’s complex pop sound is arguably their most contagious to date. Despite calls from the crowd, an encore did not transpire. Amber did, however, make time to have a chat with everyone who waited behind after the show. Overall, it was a very nice evening of music, humour and awe. I, for one, am looking forward to the tour that will follow The Japanese House’s inevitable debut album release either later this year or in early 2018. I’m sure that Bain’s audience will continue to grow alongside her talent and unique musical style.