Live Review: The Japanese House // Roundhouse, 09.05.24

Photo Credit: Max Barnett

The Roundhouse is one of my favourite venues in London. The timeless appearance and gracious atmosphere that it holds are unmatched and being able to see The Japanese House play one of their most enthralling shows to date there has been an experience which will leave a mark for the foreseeable future. 

As we came in, I couldn’t help but notice the more sophisticated stage design with glowing balls adorning the space alongside flat lights below them. As someone who was able to witness the artistic growth of Amber Bain’s band, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the details that went into the performance. 

At 10 past 9 in the evening, the crowd was buzzing and even the upper level seats were visibly longing for The Japanese House to come on stage. A couple of minutes later, the band walked on stage and the song ‘Touching Yourself’ from the latest record In the End it Always Does started playing as the audience cheered Amber and her bandmates on. Blue and purple flashing lights added more electricity to the scene, and with the upbeat vibe the song carries, it was a more than perfect start to the show. 

It was great to see that equal focus went to both of The Japanese House’s albums – In the End It Always Does and Good at Falling – with a good number of tracks from each one of them. From more known tunes like ‘Sad to Breathe’ to unreleased gems like ‘Smiley Face’, the band made everyone happy. 

With the subdued nature of Bain’s personality – which has always been one of the most interesting aspects for me – it was very wholesome to see her genuinely grateful and excited about the opportunity to play there, with a couple of earnest moments where she confessed to feeling terrified. Nevertheless, she and her band put on the show of the year. The entire Roundhouse was enthralled by Bain’s impeccable vocals and palpable love for her fans.

Two of the highest moments of the evening happened when ‘Chewing Cotton Wool’ and ‘Still’ started playing. For both songs, the crowd went completely silent and let the artists bask into the almost religious atmosphere that fell upon the room. And this is what intimacy during a gig feels like – no matter how many people are in front of you, a good artist will always know how to make hundreds of people silent, without silencing them. In the best way. 

I knew what I was getting myself into when I stepped into the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, but God, the Japanese House have truly left me mesmerised. This is just the beginning. 

Words by Silvia Pellegrino

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