With her hazy vocals and shy disposition, The Japanese House has proved in just a few short years that she is capable of taking on the world. She’s now worlds away from teenager who first played to a London crowd in 2015 on the diminutive stage at the Barfly (now Camden Assembly) and so it should come as no surprise that when she performed only a mile down the road at the iconic KOKO this week she was met with enthusiastic praise from all present.
The Japanese House (AKA Amber Bain) was fixed for success from the very beginning, attributed to her signing to Dirty Hit Records which has pumped out wildly successful indie acts The 1975 and Wolf Alice. She toured extensively in 2016, both in support of The 1975 while also putting on her own solo gigs in the UK, USA and Europe which saw her secure an enormous following worldwide. This current tour is in support of her upcoming EP Saw You In A Dream and is the biggest she’s ever headlined with dates at venues that two years ago she could’ve only dreamed about. It just goes to show how much she has achieved in such a small amount of time.
The Japanese House has enlisted the help of a bassist in these contemporary sets, something she forwent before but now noticeably improves the band’s output tenfold. The reaction from the crowd was enough to confirm that, as there was far more dancing in comparison to Bain’s previous shows in the capital.
Some see The Japanese House as a bit of an enigma— there’s very little known about her but that seems to be just the way she likes it. Her stage presence is a very carefully forged coyness that is far more than ‘just an act’, but it allows her audiences to focus solely on the intricate words she spins backed only by her own guitar, a keyboardist, a drummer and some very light production.
There’s certainly a stark difference between her oldest cuts (such as ‘Pools To Bathe In’ which saw her break in to the limelight) and the material on her new EP, but fans seemed more than content throughout the duration of what was, unfortunately, a rather short set.
Despite having achieved headliner status remarkably fast, Amber Bain just doesn’t have enough songs to be playing for more than an hour— though, as a result, her sets are short burst of magic that fans dare not to miss.
Photos by Tom Russell.