We begin in the rain with a line that goes down the block. And passerbyers slowing down with a curiosity not dissimilar to observing a zoo animal. But to those in line there is nothing abnormal about this spectacle. It’s ONE OK ROCK.
A big shout out to the security who managed to shuffle in a sold out crowd within half an hour. By the time our evening opener Stateside came on the venue was packed and already screaming. The familiar locals have consistently had a talent of treating a small venue like a stadium so it’s no surprise when they come out with what feels like a full production. Running through some classics from debut EP Naive and some unreleased tracks like Low, Stateside receive a consistent amount of adoration as front-woman Erin Rues flies around the stage. Hopefully this is a sign that they’ll be releasing soon because based off their reception I won’t be the only one waiting eagerly.
Second up is the ever energetic Set It Off. These guys brought with them an early 00’s pop punk sound and at least half a venue of devout fans. Jumping into Lonely Dance, the three-piece are entrancing. Front-man Cody Carson has dance moves that would have Brendon Urie jealous; this makes for an infectious energy that has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. The band continues through a string of hits including personal highlight Dancing With The Devil (you can’t beat a bit of choreography), receiving the kind of love that you’d expect for a headliner. It’s at this point it’s worth mentioning the moment they managed to get the entire crowd running from one side of the venue to the other; words can’t properly describe how both impressive and amusing that was to witness, so my best suggestion is you just can’t possibly skip out on their inevitable headliner.
Midnight Thoughts is prefaced with a dedication to insomniacs that receives an enthusiastic reception. And the boys finish off the explosion of a support set with the hugely popular Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.
After that set it’s almost a sure thing they’ll be back very soon with a headliner tour and I know I’ll be front of the line for that one.
BUT despite setting the bar 10ft high, there’s a reason it’s not their name at the top of the bill and ONE OK ROCK walk on stage determined to show you why.
By the time the iconic opening riff of Eye Of The Storm filled the venue, the audience was already a sweaty mess. One by one the band jump and spin onto the stage as the main attraction begins. It’s no surprise to hear the deafening choir produced by the crowd as they move through Taking Off and We Are. It’s almost as if these songs were built to be anthems.
Front-man Takahiro Moriuchi has vocals that induce goosebumps and make you want to cry. I can’t stress this enough, I’m convinced this man has never hit a flat note in his life. This is coupled with his infectiously energetic demeanor as the band run through their collection of bangers such as Take What You Want, Head High and the gloriously infectious Grow Old Die Young (which was very clearly the highlight of the night for my immature brain cause you can’t not love/giggle at a pre-chorus reading ‘I want the cause of my death to be amazing sex’).
The mood escalates with a performance of Change, and the crowd hit a new level of energy, as there isn’t a set of feet on the floor all through I Was King. Quickly changing for a gorgeous acoustic Be The Light; Moriuchi’s incredibly passionate performance is really shining through and making it all rather emotional before he leaves the stage for a 3 minute instrumental. Usually when bands do this it drags on, but the guys managed to make it super entertaining and that can be at least partially credited to their incredible stage presence. A stage presence that is carried through to Push Back and Stand Out Fit In which really show off the fact that everyone in that band has vocals gifted to them by the gods.
The Beginning plays and suddenly we’re transported to 2014 Soundwave mainstage in what feels like a tribute to their heavier roots. We’re even treated to a little screaming and a wall of death.
The night finishes with Mighty Long Fall followed by the whole encore fun and games and an incredible performance of Wasted Nights. Both songs are treated with a level of energy and sweat that transcends plausibility and the floor feels like it’s going to cave in as the crowd scream back every word, both English and Japanese, with accuracy and passion.
ONE OK ROCK are nothing short of exceptional and those who were lucky enough to get a ticket on this tour will be talking about it for years to come.