Monday, 21 March 2016


Like most people, I first heard of The Japanese House early last year through social media. The fact that Amber Bain and her band’s visual identity was mostly made up of atmospheric landscapes and desolate imagery, and the sudden arrival of debut single ‘Still’ captivated my interest immediately. The ensuing online hype and quick collection of fans after the release of hugely successful ‘Pools to Bathe In’ EP meant that my expectations for the live performance were high, and I wasn’t disappointed.

After seeing the gig live for the first time at the Barfly in Camden late last year, I met Amber and (after one or two wines) encouraged her to come to Newcastle next time she was touring. On a rainy Saturday, my intoxicated wish came true. I was prepared for a similar performance this time at Amber’s O2 Academy set, her very first time in the city, but wasn’t anticipating the sense of fresh excitement that was evident upon entering the venue. 

An eclectic crowd whistled and cheered at the sight of the band, and even as the singer made her way through lesser known tracks, the impressed claps and calls were unwavering. Amber’s confidence in her performance has come along leaps and bounds since the last gig I attended, and rightly so. The pulling together of her trademark layered harmonies and unlikely sound effects live is no mean feat, but one which she pulled off effortlessly.

As she made her way through her portfolio, interweaving melodic, upbeat tracks like ‘Cool Blue’ with the likes of darker, emotional ‘Sugar Pill,’ her band’s support was a credit. The low-key set was evidently well polished and the crowd were visibly leaning in to get closer to the hypnotic sounds produced by the 3 musicians.

While it’s fair to say Amber is a woman of little words, with just a brief chat on stage, she did stop to gratefully thank the crowd for their attendance, with exclamations of it being her favourite gig on the headline tour so far. It was a pleasure to get the chance to be a part of The Japanese House’s project and have a chat with her afterwards, and from the evident adoration displayed by the crowd in Newcastle, I don't think it’ll be the last we see of her.

Sara x 

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