GIG REVIEW | THE JAPANESE HOUSE @ SWG3 GALVANIZERS

There’s no better way to begin the summer celebrations than with a The Japanese House gig. Delivering energetic tunes, angelic vocals, and a relaxing charismatic stage presence, Amber Bain is the woman behind The Japanese House and her, alongside her two openers, provided a much-welcomed night of relaxed joy on 7 May.

Image credit: Victoria Durand

First on stage was Esme Emerson, a British-Chinese brother-sister duo playing lively folk-indie-pop. Truck Song and Meet me at 7 were the two audience favourites, but what was enjoyed as much as the music was on the stage chats. The pair engaged with the crowd in a mesmeric way, despite clarifying that it was the biggest audience they had performed to. Their relaxed humour and song explanations captivated the crowd, getting them hyped for each song before it played. All in all, Esme Emerson made for a great first opener, and they have undeniably gained dozens of new fans based on their Glasgow performance.

Next was Scottish native Bonnie Kemplay, accompanied by a guitar only. She opened for The 1975 during their arena tour in 2023, the year before The Japanese House opened for them on an expansion of the same tour. Naturally, the crowd was full of fans who attended both tours so Kemplay being on stage was more than appreciated. Her set consisted of ambient acoustic tracks, singing soft lyrics that had the crowd hanging on her every word. It prepared the crowd nicely for The Japanese House’s similar story-telling style and proved Kemplay deserved her spot opening on two phenomenal tours.

Bain had kept the crowd happy and entertained with her two openers, but they were all itching to see the headline and discover what setlist she was going to play that night. She walked on stage, set up the instruments and the crowd discovered, cheering with glee, that the set was off to a perfect start: Touching Yourself, a fan favourite from the latest album, was the first song she played. From there, she continued to elate everyone with her choices and, of course, with her typical stellar performance.

Image credit: Victoria Durand

She then played two older songs: Follow My Girl and Something Has to Change, solidifying the audience’s excitement that the show would be a night of The Japanese House’s hits that old and new fans alike could enjoy.

A mix of ballads and high-energy songs, the night was well-paced. Bain’s vocals were as beautiful as the studio version and the band’s stage presence was on par with Bain’s herself. The saxophone was a welcome surprise for many, and added an extra layer of excitement to the night.

The crowd livened up dramatically when Bain played f a r a w a y, a song played not all that often that fans adore. Bain’s face lit up as people sang along, like they had been doing all night- however, this song was special and it was a beautiful moment to witness between her and her fans.

Image credit: Victoria Durand

The next best moment was the live debut of a brand new song: Smiley Face. Her first time playing it, Bain explained she was curious and excited to see fans’ reactions. Naturally, as expected, fans loved it. It was a tidy fit amongst the set and Bain’s wider discography, and the crowd will surely be adding it to their playlists when it is finally released.

Finishing the night with the ever-famous Sunshine Baby, The Japanese House concluded on a high and fans were left satisfied, minds and souls full of fantastic live music.

Image credit: Victoria Durand

Feature image credit: Victoria Durand

About Alex Paterson 20 Articles
Dipping into great music, I call that guac'n'roll. Often seen writing about the Scottish music scene with a focus on alt-pop, punk, and local (Central Belt) events.