Date: December 6th, 2015
Venue: The Academy, Dublin
Line-up: One Ok Rock + We Came As Romans
Japanese rockers One Ok Rock’s popularity has soared in recent months, they released their seventh album 35xxxv earlier this year, their debut US release which then saw them make their US tour debut supporting All Time Low. Now they’ve stopped over in Dublin for their first show in the country as part of the European leg of their world tour.
American metalcore-turned-alternative rockers We Came as Romans opened up tonight’s show with an incredible burst of energy. The band were always moving and jumping around the stage, which the crowd swiftly caught onto and also started hopping around. Clean vocalist Kyle Pavone looked rather awkward when he first came onto the stage but that feeling went away when he started to sing, sounding even better than on record. Kyle and fellow vocalist Dave Stephens had good harmony together, playing off each other’s strengths to deliver a powerhouse performance. The rest of the band were enjoying themselves, headbanging and jumping along, particularly bassist Andy Glass who was always coming right up to the front with a smile on his face.
With plenty of their country mates in attendance, One Ok Rock took to the stage. The band opened up with the short instrumental “35xxxv” before vocalist Taka joined them for the upbeat “Take me to the Top”, both from the band’s latest album. The crowd were really up for the show, full of energy from the very beginning jumping and screaming along. The band, especially, were trying to keep the crowd interaction moving, making sure that everyone had a fun time.
Bassist Ryota had a demeanour that I won’t be soon to forget, coming out topless (influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea) he was really engaged in his performance and made his presence felt. Another little quirk I noticed was that he was constantly sticking out his tongue, particularly after some singing. Guitarist Toru was also happily running around the stage alongside Ryota. However it was Taka who was the real star of the show, his glistening clean vocals sounded immaculate live, just as they do on record. There were a number of ballads and slower tracks such as “Clock Strikes” and “Last Dance” which really put the vocals to the forefront, and rightly so. Their acoustic performance of “Heartache” was one of the real highlights. Striped back to just Taka and Toru on stage, they had the crowd singing along to the chorus which was almost entirely in Japanese, certainly a first time experience for me.
Of course it wasn’t just about the ballads, there were a number of high energy rock songs to really get the crowd moving, from the ska-inspired “The Way Back” to the upbeat “The Beginning” and finally closing the show with the punky “No Scared”.
Taka made a comment concerning the recent terror attacks among other events, saying that the world was not currently at peace but we would always have the power of music to help us, a feeling that was very much felt tonight in the smiling faces of fans around the room.