There’s a certain buzz around the Brudenell Social Club as a series of adolescent teens and trendy uni students make their way into the legendary venue for a night of dream pop grooves courtesy of ‘next big thing’ Amber Bain, aka The Japanese House. After years of being the support act for indie stalwarts, it’s time for Bain to take centre-stage – and, by and large, she does this well.
As per Bain’s request, there is “plenty of smoke” as a haze lulls the crowd into the atmospheric pop which has seen The Japanese House’s popularity surge in recent months. Opening track ‘Face Like Thunder’ sets the tone as Bain et al. gently usher in the occasion. The crowd sways and nods with the occasional shape thrown in for good measure. Everything is going swimmingly.
It remains this way for much of the night; Bain politely stirring the crowd with her tranquil guitar sound, occasionally rising to remind the crowd to not fall into the blissful sleep that her lovely sound can so easily set one into. Bain’s early work reminds us just why she is able to capture the hearts of so many in the room, as the one-two of ‘Somebody You Found’ and ‘Swim Against The Tide’, delicate in their nature, delight the crowd.
Still, there remains something for fans old and new to the Japanese House sound; with her debut record out next year, Bain treats the crowd to a preview of the LP recorded in Bon Iver’s now-legendary studio. ‘You Seemed So Happy’ lights things up under the disco ball as the crowd grooves to the contrasting electro-laden vocal tones and the traditional percussion set-up. Elsewhere there is the Gordi-meets-Burial ‘Still’, a minimalistic and fuzzy sound which almost blows away the crowd with the cascading bass.
Still, the night doesn’t truly begin to kick into top gear until standout single ‘Saw You In A Dream’ whips the crowd into a frenzy; the cool kids are dancing and Bain is clearly taking delight in leading the crowd in what is an accomplished performance under the neon green lights. The accompanying ‘Intro’ is another interesting idea of what is to come as contrasting auto-tuned vocals and changing dynamics manage to captivate whilst the bridge and rhythm section excites those around.
The night ends in rapturous applause as closer ‘Clean’ urges the crowd along with its urgent riffs and easy singalong energy. It feels apt that on a night which clearly shows The Japanese House have a long way to go that Bain would close on her debut single. There’s a lot of room for Bain to expand, and if this Friday night in Leeds is anything to go by, she’ll have no trouble getting there. (John Tindale)
Tags: Brudenell Social Club, gig, John Tindale, Leeds, live review, The Japanese House
Reading Music Journalism at Huddersfield University, I have a passion for all things musical. I pride myself on being open minded in music genres and have a love of writing to match. The coolest cat on The Student Playlist, I also support Hartlepool United and am an avid pro-wrestling fan.
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