Live Report: The Japanese House – Roundhouse, London 

A celebratory evening...

The Japanese House aka Amber Bain has been a rising force on the indie pop landscape for the past decade making a name for herself with a series of acclaimed EPs before releasing her debut LP ‘Good At Falling’ in 2019 and her second ‘In The End It Always Does’ in 2023, both to a rapturous response. Following stints supporting the 1975, including at their massive Finsbury Park show in 2023, The Japanese House has embarked on some of her largest shows to date, a sellout show at The Roundhouse a sign of her growing popularity and the perfect venue for her ethereal, distinct blend of dreamy Indie Pop. 

There was an almost feverish atmosphere in the build-up with a heightened sense of anticipation and Bonnie Kemplay doing a fine job warming the crowd up, showing herself as one to watch including a gorgeous Adrianne Lenker cover. After a gorgeous spring day in Camden spending an evening in the Japanese House’s company seems a fine way to end it, soothed and swayed by the warmth of her music with everyone seeming to be in-sync with Bain. 

Coming on just after 9pm to a huge ovation, Japanese House kicked the set off with a lively version of ‘Touching Yourself’, setting the tone and with the audience immediately singing along and joining right in from the offset. The crowd made themselves heard throughout, making the 1500-capacity venue feel several times bigger, such was the level of their enthusiasm. The crowd’s noise never waned, keeping the momentum going throughout the 90 minutes giving it a euphoric feeling. 

‘Sad To Breathe’, another highlight of her second album, also went down a storm, the live performances of many of the tracks add an extra dynamic and energy to an already hugely strong collection of tracks, beguiling and really showcasing how well the sound transitions to a live arena. 

The stage decorated with giant white balls and an array of different lighting, felt like something from the space age and was perfectly in keeping with the tone of the music adding a sense of unique visuals. 

The setlist was a blend of tracks from across her career capturing the early EPs, both studio albums and with unreleased track ‘Smiley Face’ which offered an intriguing glimpse at new material, a summery upbeat track that went down as well as tracks audiences have wallowed with for years. ‘Saw You In A Dream’, which has proven to be one of her most popular tracks to date was a treat to see live, showing why it has built the level of popularity that it has. ‘Sunshine Baby’ as with many of the tracks elevated live was the perfect way to round off the evening, sending the adoring fanbase on their way with plenty to smile about. 

There was rarely a bum note with Bain remarking throughout how important a show this was for them, it will surely just be a stepping stone to even bigger achievements in future. Of course, much of the attention will be on Bain but the whole of her live band did a wonderful job.

From the start it was clear that this would be a special show and The Japanese House certainly didn’t disappoint in one of their largest solo shows to date showcasing the array of their musicality delivering a hypnotic set that had the audience in the palm of her hand and never let go. Full of impressive visuals and luscious, aching sounds this really captured what has made The Japanese House such a rising force. Both newcomers and die-hard fans will have found plenty to pour over in a set that blended material from across her career to date seamlessly whetting fans appetites for new material in a celebratory night. 

Words: Christopher Connor
Photo Credit: Jay Seba

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