Live Review: The Japanese House at Sheffield, Plug Dominic Penna March 21, 2019Justin Higuchi After the release of the impressive debut album Good at Falling on thriving indie label Dirty Hit, The Japanese House took to the stage at Plug, Sheffield as part of their biggest tour to date. Coming out to the incongruous upbeat strains of the Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, Amber Bain and her live band launched into ‘Face Like Thunder’, the older EP track which didn’t make the album cut. With the crowd – who could be mistaken for a slightly sombre Sheffield couples’ retreat – quickly getting into it the vibe, Bain delivered a strong vocal performance, quickly followed up with another older track, ‘Cool Blue’. Heartbreak, love and loss all run deep throughout the lyrics and melodies, making for an emotive live performance. ‘We Talk All the Time’, a reflection on Bain’s breakup with fellow singer songwriter Marika Hackman, won over the crowd with its candid lyrics on the ghost of a past relationship. ‘Lilo’, a highlight of the set, with its ethereal feel and an impressive octave jump brought out the best vocal display of the night. Any risk of the tracks blurring too much was offset by an acoustic rendition of the hugely affecting ‘Saw You in a Dream’. The best known Japanese House song, it inspired a mix of people wholeheartedly singing along and those who were stunned into silence by its stripped back delivery. ‘f a r a w a y’ and ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’ kept the quality high, the latter a glorious synth pop tune, while ending on old favourites ‘Leon’ and ‘Clean’ proved to be an inspired choice. Bain largely let the music do the talking, but equally had a commanding stage presence, curating a set list which struck the right balance. Bain who reigns supreme over slow tempo synth-pop, has proved she and the band can transcend this ruling into a royally luscious live set.