The Japanese House @ Rough Trade

Having released 4 EPs between 2015 and 2017 the artistic vision that is the Japanese House celebrated the most recent release of ‘Good at Falling’ by gracing Nottingham’s Rough Trade with its indie-pop and dreamy presence, at one of three intimate gigs to celebrate the debut album with an acoustic performance.

With a bar right next to the stage, it was pretty easy to cop yourself a bev or take a quick browse at the vinyl on display; I joined the crowd that had attracted people of all ages. I had gotten the impression that sad indie music was a thing for only the ‘millennials’. Clearly, I was wrong as the over 40s seemed to be just as much of a fan as the next sad indie kid there.

For those who have been upstairs in Rough Trade, you’ll be very much aware of how small of a gig venue it is. I think this definitely added to the intimacy of the atmosphere. It was clear that Amber definitely wanted to connect with her fans with these acoustic sessions at Rough Trade before her actual tour started.

The dream-pop singer began with the most dream-like love song “Lilo” which sounded so calming as an acoustic. This was followed by “You Seemed so Happy” which really got the crowd swaying even as an acoustic. This was until a girl fainted 30 seconds through the song. Amber kindly stopped to help the girl receive medical attention and had confessed it’s the first time something like that had happened at a gig and questioned whether she did the right thing by stopping.

The crowd were inevitably quick to support her decision, with Amber beginning the song and dedicating it to the fan! Amber continued with an acoustic from her ‘Saw You In a Dream’ EP with “Somebody You Found”. I really enjoyed this as an acoustic and the crowd clearly did as well with people joining in left, right and centre. Including a song from this song which was released as a part of the ‘Saw You In a Dream’ EP further solidified to me that these Rough Trade gigs weren’t just for marketing and selling loads of new albums but actually appreciating older pieces of her work and just good chilled-out music in general. “Everybody Hates Me” featured which went down well with the crowd with it being in classic Japanese House style, intertwining melodic piano and electronica.

“Maybe You’re the Reason” came on and it was clear that everyone had been waiting for it! Having been released as part of the line up to the latest album it was one of the better-known songs and everyone in the crowd was really engaging with the up-beat dream-pop tune. “f a r a w a y” followed and Amber confessed it was her favourite song on the album. Even though it was sung as an acoustic, it still has the same 70’s vibe to it so I can’t say I blame her in choosing this as her all-time favourite.

Bain finished with the 2017 hit “I Saw You In a Dream”. The crowd clearly hadn’t lost interest and the chill relaxed vibe of the track made it the perfect way to end the gig. The evening continued with Amber signing vinyls and CDs, fans being able to say a few words the drink-flowing courtesy of the brilliant bar staff at Rough Trade. All in all, it was a brilliant performance from Amber and a great start to what seems to be the start of an exciting few months ahead for The Japanese House.

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