One OK Rock Sydney Review @ Manning Bar

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For a band notorious for selling out arena shows in their home country Japan, seeing One OK Rock within the intimate surrounds of Sydney's Manning Bar (7 October) is not only a luxury, it's a privilege.

It's the four-piece, J-rock outfit's inaugural visit of Australia as part of their worldwide 'Ambitions' tour and the fans are understandably excited.

Before doors open, a bustling line of punters can be found snaking across two blocks waiting ever-so patiently to be let inside. Once there, the line to the merch stand feels just as long though no less excitable.

Local DJ Bigg Fudge opens the night with a set that drips of punk-rock's greatest hits. The crowd sings-along as he spins Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Panic At The Disco, Good Charlotte, The Killers and even a little Lion King before his set ends on time.

We don't have to wait long for the main event. Half an hour later and One OK Rock take to the stage, blasting the crowd away with a blistering rendition of 'Bombs Away' playing it as though it were their very last song. Thankfully, it's not.

Throughout the night, lead singer Takahiro Moriuchi (Taka) laps up the limelight bouncing across the stage and stretching his arms out gloriously soaking up the energy pulsing about the room.

Despite being an album tour he barrels through songs both old and new. Popular singles 'Clock Strikes' and 'The Beginning' blend seamlessly with 'Ambitions' favourites 'Taking Off', 'Bedroom Warfare', 'Jaded' and I Was King', the fans singing both English and Japanese parts where required.

There are moments of drama where One OK Rock stops mid-song, holding the crowd on bated breath waiting for them to strike the guitar or scream a note.

Then there are moments of glee when Taka dances in perfect sync with Ryota Kohama (bass) and Toru Yamashita (guitar) during 'Bon Voyage' and calls on the audience to start 'Wherever You Are', only to have their overexcited selves pipe up to early.

The band takes it down a peg for 'Wherever You Are' noting it as the first slow song ever played on Australian soil before pulling out the punches with 'We Are', churning out the first and only death circle to close off the set.

The audience cries more and One OK Rock throws them a bone, with a one-song-strong encore of 'American Girls'. They have more songs in their arsenal, 'Ambitions' being their eighth record, but no more time to spare.

So on that, they promise to return to Australia on their next worldwide tour. Into arena settings, no doubt.


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