By: Erica Fasoli
On Saturday, an enthusiastic crowd welcomed Amber Bain, better known as The Japanese House, to the Complex in Salt Lake City. Bain’s debut album “Good at Falling” was released in March of 2019, although she released four EPs between 2015-2017. This was her second visit to Salt Lake this year, showcasing the new indie-pop tracks as well as “Something has to Change”, the lead single off her upcoming EP, this time around.
Overcoats, consisting of singer-songwriters Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, opened the show. The New York based electronic-pop duo played an upbeat set that won the crowd over. You could tell they were having fun on that stage as they played their synthpop songs like “The Fool” and “When the Darkness Comes”. Impressive musicianship and vocals paired with small bits of fun choreography had the audience cheering. This was their first time playing in Salt Lake City and the two even went as far as to say that the crowd was one of the best that they’ve ever had. Sometimes I think artists underestimate and even overlook Salt Lake City’s music scene. But, over the past five or so years the crowds have only gotten bigger and better, always eager and enthusiastic. We show up for the artists we love and are proud of it. I’d happily go back to see Overcoats play again. Maybe they’ll have their own headline show next time they pay us a visit.
The Japanese House took the stage as the crowd screamed out “We love you, Amber”. Her album “Good at Falling” is more upbeat than her other EPs, inspired by the idea of playing them live. The title is fitting, most of the tracks focus on falling in and out of love and picking yourself back up only to fall again. There is pain and darkness in the album’s lyrics, contrasted with upbeat, pop basslines and drums. The songs are relatable, yet heartbreaking, speaking to the blended line between image and reality and the feeling of hopelessness and loss. Bain put her heart on the line with this release and it’s incredible.
As the band began to play “Lilo”, the lead single off of the album, a few people flipped on their phone lights. Amber smiled wide and asked the rest of the crowd to pull out their flashlights. The crowd swayed back and forth together, lit up with what seemed like hundreds of small LED lights. “This is very cool,” Amber paused to say before continuing on to play “Follow my Girl”. Bain connected with the passionate audience and was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, having expected a similar crowd to her last show at Urban Lounge. This crowd was bigger and better. She paused in between songs, telling the crowd to “get emotional” as she began to play “Still”. The spotlights shined directly on Bain as she sang “baby it’s too hard, and too scarred, for this to work again”.
“I reckon this is the part of the set where you put the other crowds to shame”, Bain smiled, “do you guys know the lyrics to ‘Saw You in a Dream’?”. The crowd cheered and the band started to play as we sang “but I’m not that kind of girl”. “Gorgeous” Amber replied. She went on to play an acoustic version of “You Seemed so Happy” as the crowd bounced and sang along. And as the intro to “Maybe You’re the Reason” began, the crowd went wild. A girl popped up, sitting on top of someone’s shoulders, reaching towards Amber as she smiled and waved back.
The Japanese House closed the show with “Something has to Change”. Despite its newness, the crowd sung out every word. The single is the title track off Bain’s upcoming EP, which is expected to arrive in November. I’ve been a fan of The Japanese House for years, but this performance solidified in my mind just how talented Amber Bain is and I think the rest of the crowd would agree. There was no encore and Amber wrapped up the show with “this has been one of my favorite shows ever. We love you guys.”
Face Like Thunder
We Talk All the Time
Somebody You Found
Follow My Girl
Saw You in a Dream
You Seemed So Happy
Went To Meet Her
Maybe You’re the Reason
Something Has to Change