Last Thursday at Terminal West, opener Art School Girlfriend began the evening playing to the restless, rowdy fans of The Japanese House. Her set proved to be soft, laid back, and dreamy. Art School Girlfriend laid the groundwork for the mood and thoughtful listening. As her songs played on, the crowd was happily surprised by her looped back beats with a surprise pop to them.
Polly Mackey has an introspective and atmospheric electronic style with similarities to Beach House, XX, or Daughter. Armed with only her soft vocals, guitar, and synth she produces a sound which is mysterious, dreamy, and sonic texture. Her latest release, “Come Back To Me,” explores love, longing, and desire.
Art School Girlfriend-Come Back To Me
The Japanese House -Terminal West
Last Thursday The Japanese House played to a sold out show at Terminal West In Atlanta, GA. After writing an album review on the latest release, Good At Falling, I knew I didn’t want to miss this one.
Something magical happens when the audience of a concert can sing every word. Atlanta proved to be some of the most loyal fans of Amber Bain/The Japanese House. Did it set the bar for their show and their performance? Sure. Was it a bit annoying for those that attended to hear the band not the audience? Yes, a bit. Did Amber Bain appreciate the loyalty? Of course. Was the behavior a long term sustainable vibe? Not really….
For me, it was charming at first, but then it became more important for the crowd to hear their own voice than Amber’s. When I come to a show, I want to see and hear the band….not just their fans. But, I totally get it. I also knew many of the words for The Japanese House’s latest album. I listened hundreds of times before I wrote the album review for Good At Falling (check it out on Soundblab by clicking here–REVIEW). I only wish the sound to her mic was amped up to compensate. I think Amber showed appreciation for the fans too. She held her heart on multiple occasions and waved to those fans who waved to her, and even turned the mic their way. The audience was deeply emotional. This young artist is a major influence to her listeners., no doubt about it.
Bain made it through sound problems, despite having to halt a song which had a heady and lush intro. She kicked over her water bottle in defiance and had to signal the stage guy who must have been asleep at the wheel. Once the sound was working again, the song was abandoned. Instead, she asked the crowd to name a song, and she would play it. The sold out show went wild screaming all of their favorites. She settled on playing an older tune not from the current album, and they were overjoyed.
A short video clip of “Saw You In A Dream”
A group of girls next to me were quite emotional, deeply connecting with the lyrics and the sounds of each song. Streams of tears glistened their faces. I couldn’t help but snap a pic, they were totally devoted and appreciative of this young introspective artist and her songs. But they weren’t alone. The crowd was filled with guys singing along too.
Bain and the band continued to play and sing brilliantly, but I am not sure Amber fully recovered from the tough sound blunder. She seemed ready to be done with the show. After what I thought was their exit for an encore, she slammed down her guitar and kicked over the microphone and left abruptly. The audience was a bit confused and taken aback, but quickly began shouting and clapping the band back. After a couple of minutes the lights at Terminal West went up and Terminal West’s exit music played. That’s when we knew it was over. I have to admit it left me a little bummed. I am so tuned into the idea of an encore and the band’s return. I must confide with you all that I now sort of expect it…
Here is the set list. A young girl from Athens nabbed it and I quickly took her picture. Most all of the songs were played, the show lasted about an hour. It was an incredible night with a rising star on the Indie scene. Her music is lush and unforgettable, full of messages saturated with personal perseverance and emotional growth. At only 21, and a debut album that took several years to create, perfect, and release, Amber Bain is definitely an indie artist to pay attention to and see live.
Photos credit-Carrie Grayson
The Japanese House-Lilo
Just a few dates left in the North American Tour, then they are off to Europe and Asia. Don’t miss if they come near you.