Project Description

One OK Rock

Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Sunday 8th October

(Live Review)

Reviewer – Simon Abbottsmith

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One OK Rock

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A seemingly never ending queue of die-hard fans stretched all the way around Melbourne’s Corner Hotel last Sunday, lined up to see Japanese powerhouse ONE OK ROCK on their first ever headline Australian headline tour! But don’t get the wrong idea, OOKR are no stranger to a crowd. With an army of dedicated fans back home and all over the world; several studio albums under their belt and countless sold out stadium tours; These boys are a true seasoned rock band that know how to put on a show!

Unlike the show’s we’re used to seeing on our side of the world, the line-up didn’t feature any supporting acts to mention. Only a few scattered DJ sets while the crowd got warmed up in anticipation for the main event. The wait however didn’t stop fans from making sure they got down early, with the entire SOLD OUT Corner Hotel packed full within 20mins of doors opening, fans frantically snapping up merch before settling into what actually seemed like a little bit of an awkward wait for the band to start.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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I was later informed that the trend of opening with a showcase of support bands is more of a western thing and not often seen in South East Asia. It does make plenty of sense to make sure that no one misses the main act and has plenty of time to buy merch before the event rather than rushing afterwards. But it’s certainly something the Australian crowds aren’t used to.

With no support acts to worry about though, it was welcome timing when ONE OK ROCK hit the stage right on cue at 9:45pm. Opening their set the same as their latest studio album ‘Ambitions’; ONE OK hit us right in with all the energy of the album’s leading songs ‘Bombs Away’ &’ Taking Off’.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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Right from the opening song hands were in the air and the crowd was singing along with every chorus. Having no trouble flawlessly switching between English and Japanese lyrics. Nearly every song had at least one crowd hitting moment for everyone to join in. But I was soon to discover this was just the warm up.

Following that initial burst of energy the rest of the set proceeded with some of the band’s mid-weight songs and newer hits from the flowing ballad ‘Bedroom Warfare’ to a familiar power-pop sound from ‘I Was King’ which took me back to more a Cute Is What We Aim For type sound. This mix of oddly familiar moments comes in and out of ONE OK’s music and it’s welcome to hear hints of where the band has taken something old and made it new again, while still maintaining their own signature sound overall.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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Around mid-set we were graced with an intermission period. I think this was just as much a welcome breather for the crowd as it was a chance for the band to rejuvenate some energy before the finale songs. A few softer and partially acoustic versions of their songs serenaded us a while before the band picked the energy back up with a short instrumental track. I imagine this would be a much needed rest for vocalist Takahiro who had straight up powered through the set with barely a moment to breathe up until this point. Even the softer songs don’t offer him much of a rest as he continued to belt out huge powerful lines above the toned down band elements. For such a small guy, he has some serious vocal chords and only got better as the night went on.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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So intermission over and Takahiro joins the band again for arguably one of their more popular tracks ‘The Beginning’. As impressive as the band had sounded overall so far, it was at this moment I really couldn’t help but notice how much this song showcased drummer Tomo and how much energy and power he was putting into driving the song forward. OOKR really are the full package and each member pulls their weight live; whether it be a driving beat or bassline, all joining in for a four part vocal harmony or the energy they give right back to their adoring crowd.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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Being only a recent fan of the band, and really only being familiar with their latest album, it was also at this moment the band strayed from what I knew personally into the territory of older fan favourites or tracks I didn’t know as well. However, I was pleasantly and consistently caught off guard throughout. Able to enjoy and even find some new favourite’s among the songs I already knew.

One hour and a half in and ONE OK brought the set to an epic close with their most anthematic song ‘We Are’. As had been the case all night, the crowd made sure the closing track had the full energy of a sold out venue behind it too. I was completely satisfied, not too long, not too short. There was a good flow of energy from start to finish and I’d heard every song I expected to and wanted to as a fan.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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But before it was all over, closing for the encore, ONE OK treated us to one more song with ‘American Girls’. A more Pop-Punk/5 Seconds Of Summer kind of sound compared to their other tracks. Finally ONE OK parted ways with the crowd, but not without multiple thanks from the band, drumsticks, and guitar picks donated to the audience, many selfies and the clawing hands and screams of fans not ready for the night to end.

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ONE OK ROCK

ONE OK ROCK . Manning Bar Sydney . Photo – Malcolm Katon

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Overall ONE OK ROCK are a band that I think could easily satisfy both a die-hard fan or a casual listener just coming along to see what it’s all about. There’s a definitive level of experience and maturity in both the bands songs and live performance worthy of competing with some of the best. Able to move a crowd and move with a crowd at the same time, ONE OK ROCK are a stadium rock band through and through, and while The Corner Hotel did them justice for now, I’m sure they will return to Oz even bigger and better next time!

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One OK Rock

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Check out Malcolm Katon’s gallery of the Sydney show HERE

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AMNPLIFY – DB

My nickname is “The Amnplifier”. Why? Because around here my focus is on being a conduit for providing greater outcomes that people come here for. My day to day “work” is living in the moment, and I love helping others concentrate on finding their connection to themselves through their experiences.

Why start a music environment? The truth is I love music, I love writing, and I love life. I work with musicians every day, and I feel certain that I will be until they put me in the ground. I have been managing people in businesses of some sort for over thirty five years so along the way I have developed some “wisdom” from my regular and constant “observations”.

Amnplify your experience. That is what we want you to do here, and if you want to let me know why you do, or don’t, shoot me a message on Facebook.

Hope you enjoy yourself here and find something that hits you somewhere.