REVIEW: ONE OK ROCK at Leeds Festival 27/8/17

Following the release of their eighth studio album Ambitions, ONE OK ROCK embarked on their “Ambitions 2017 World Tour” starting off with Reading & Leeds Festival in the UK. The Japanese quartet had just completed their headline tour of North America and played at Czad Festiwal, so they have had a very busy summer.

For those who don’t know, ONE OK ROCK are a J-Rock band from Tokyo, Japan. They are currently signed to Fueled By Ramen and have released eight studio albums to date. John Feldmann, Mike Shinoda and Dan Lancaster have helped with the production of their music, so when such big names in the music industry have aided a band, you know that they’re good. Also, ONE OK ROCK won the award for Best Japanese Act at the 2016 MTV Europe Music Awards, so if you haven’t heard of them, you should defintely check them out!

ONE OK ROCK were given the penultimate slot on The Pit Stage on the final day of the festival. Unfortunately for them, their set overlapped with Eminem’s set on the main stage, but there was still a decent sized crowd for their set. The audience was largely made up of East-Asian fans, but it was nice to see a good handful of English fans present too.

Back in Japan, ONE OK ROCK are used to selling out stadiums and arenas, so performing on such a small stage would’ve been a different experience for them. However, the Tokyo rockers made the most of their time and space at a Leeds Festival.

After opening their set with Taking Off, they proceeded to playing Bon Voyage and I Was King. As this was their “Ambitions 2017 World Tour”, their set list was heavily dominated by their latest album, so there wasn’t much opportunity for lead singer Takahiro Moriuchi to showcase his ability to sing in both Japanese and English. However, a moment of beauty was when they played an acoustic rendition of Take What You Want, a song which they recorded with Aussie favourites 5 Seconds of Summer. In an almost silent tent, Taka’s stunning vocals really shone through in this emotional cover. Towards the end of the song, the rest of the band came into the spotlight and ended the song in a much more upbeat fashion. This was arguably the best moment of the gig, acoustically beginning a song to showcase Taka’s vocals and then ending the song with power and energy, demonstrating that ONE OK ROCK mean business.

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ONE OK ROCK – The Pit, Leeds Festival 27/8/17 – Credit: Julen Photo

Two singles from Ambitions, Bedroom Warfare and We Are, followed Take What You Want. ONE OK ROCK’s short set ended with Mighty Long Fall, a fan favourite from 35xxxv. It could be argued that 35xxxv, their seventh studio album, was the album which started to bring international recognition and success to the band, as the album contained more lyrics in English compared to older albums, as well as featuring Tyler Carter and Kellin Quinn of ISSUES and Sleeping With Sirens respectively.

ONE OK ROCK provided a set packed with excitement, energy and emotion. You could see from the faces of each member, Taka, Toru, Tomoya and Ryota, that they enjoyed their experience of playing at a UK festival. Taka demonstrated his vocals, Toru showcased his usual energy, Ryota rocked his wild outfit and Tomoya banged the drums with his usual smile.

Following their amazing set at Reading and Leeds Festival, ONE OK ROCK announced a European tour which included three dates in the UK. You can buy tickets here.

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