japanese_house2

Words by Mark Spero

On Wednesday, March 8, The Chapel had another sold out show, fans packing into the intimidate hall to see The Japanese House and Blaise Moore.  This is only the second time The Japanese House has played in San Francisco, and the first time for Blaise Moore.  Neither of them have a full album out, but their tour has been selling out across the country.

New, Toronto-based artist Blaise Moore opened the show, performing songs off her first EP Laurence.  Her music video for the song “Friends” went viral earlier this year, leading her to quickly sign with Interscope Records.  Her sound adds a trap production style to songs reminiscent of Banks or Lana Del Rey.  She ranges from hard-hitting dance beats, to more atmospheric singer-songwriter songs.  At The Chapel, it was obvious she is a young artist based on her at times pitchy vocals and awkward crowd interactions.  It seems she has yet to transfer her music from the studio to a live setting.  She had a drummer and keyboardist, but none of the musicians were very engaging.  The crowd was quiet but when Moore showed off her more powerful vocals, they were excited, and seemed to enjoy her more dance oriented songs.

When The Japanese House came on stage, the crowd went wild, pushing towards the stage.  The band has released three EPs, slowly gaining a loyal following.  The songs are written and produced by singer and guitarist Amber Bain, with help from George Daniel of The 1975.  Bain’s heavily effected vocals and guitar, along with the dance-oriented beats, give The Japanese House a unique sound, and make it hard to place them in a single genre.  They could be called indie pop or electro pop, and are at times reminiscent of Honne or Oh Wonder.

Throughout the show, the audience was completely enraptured, and a core group near the front sang every word.  Their hour-long set spanned their three EPs, with songs like “Sugar Pill,” “Face Like Thunder,” and “Pools to Bathe In.”  The band easily brought their complex and electronic sound to life, and appeared to do so without the use of prerecorded tracks.  The drummer provided intricate dance beats throughout the set, mixing an electronic pad with acoustic drums.  Bain is an incredibly talented guitar player, mixing intricate finger picking with highly affected, atmospheric sounds.  Die hard fans near the front of the crowd handed Bain three bouquets of flowers throughout the show, and someone through a black, lacy bra on stage, which was quickly put on the the bassist, who wore it for the rest of the show.  The band seemed to be having as much fun as the crowd, commenting on their own wacky clothing choices and dancing between songs.  Bain stood on the drum set for part of a song, and twice took fan’s iPhones to give them close up video of her singing.

The Japanese House puts on an incredible live show, completely engaging the small venue, but their fame will lead them to much larger stages soon, and it seems their show will only be more powerful in a bigger setting.  Their loving fan base is only growing, and many now anxiously await their debut album.  At the end of the show, Bain thanked the crowd, saying, “I wish every show was like this one.”  With this talented band and enthusiastic crowd, so do I.

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