Monday night (25 Jan) was the second of NME‘s Girls To The Front shows – gigs supporting female and non-binary talent – at London’s Shacklewell Arms.
The free show was a Dirty Hit double bill – the record label home to Wolf Alice and The 1975 – with recent signee Beabadoobee kicking things off followed by a set from this week’s NME Cover star Amber Bain, aka The Japanese House, who is also signed to the label.
A smiley Beabadoobee played through her recent ‘Patched Up’ EP combined with some old songs to an at-capacity room of 200 lucky fans who had been quick to snap up a free ticket via DICE. The crowd sang along to favourites such as ‘Coffee’ and ‘The Moon Song’, while Bea adorably vocalised drum fills during her largely acoustic set.
DJ Leonie Cooper kept the crowd warmed up with bangers spanning from Dolly Parton to Kelly Clarkson before The Japanese House took to the stage to play new tunes from her upcoming debut album, ‘Good At Falling’, released on Friday.
Opening with 2016 pop hit, ‘Face Like Thunder’, Amber Bain and her band perfectly navigated old favourites and instant classics from her long-awaited LP.
“Are you still with us, London?” asked a good-spirited Amber, at one point. “This is the funnest gig I’ve ever played.”
Highlights were ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’, with the crowd singing along almost as loudly as The Japanese House and unreleased gems such as ‘Went to Meet Her’, an acoustic version of ‘Saw You In A Dream’ and ‘You Seemed So Happy’.
Last week, The Japanese House told NME that her new album tackles the breakdown of her relationship with fellow artist, Marika Hackman: no real secret as the pair starred in the emotional video for ‘Lilo’ together.
Speaking to NME‘s El Hunt, Amber revealed “It’s weird, I’ve written all these songs that are really obviously about my break-up. But does that suddenly give me the right to talk about that in detail, when the other person hasn’t necessarily agreed? Well, I am doing it. I spoke to Marika the other day about it, because she’d read or seen something that I’d done, and was like, ‘It’s quite intense hearing that’. I was like, ‘Yeah, it is intense, I’m sorry.”
Marika Hackman was present at last night’s Girls To The Front show and The Japanese House dedicated ‘Lilo’ to her.