One Ok Rock w/ Palisades
Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA

There are plenty of band tours to look forward to, but One Ok Rock’s Seattle show was on my radar from the moment it was announced. The Japanese rock (JRock) band has been a bit of an obsession, their catchy music making them massive rising stars. They have the perfect hooks and looks of a boy band, with the edge of a great radio rock band, and songs that just reel you in, instantly grabbing your attention.

Since they formed in Tokyo in 2005, One Ok Rock have been steadily gaining momentum. Now eight studio albums in, they are breaking ground in the States and this Seattle show was the second to last night of a successful US/Canada run, in support of their 2017 release, Ambitions. The lead-off single from that album, “Taking Off,” sums up the band’s meteoric rise.

Looking around Showbox SoDo, it was as though many Japanese fans flew over to be up close and personal in this intimate club setting. I am sure their superstar status in Japan makes it difficult to get this close to the live band, and these fans were hardcore. Not reserved by any means, they were chomping at the bit to get their dose of One Ok Rock.

The venue dimmed and pink lights hit the backdrop. It was a clear signal that triggered deafening screams from the crowd as the band exploded onto the stage with “Bombs Away.” Singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi was magical and the perfect front man as he worked the crowd. Meanwhile, the hooky chorus sung by the audience was overwhelming, combined with their screams.

I was immediately blown away by the ferocity and intensity that the band had during their live performance. I knew every song (did I mention I was obsessed?) and the energy was infectious! Taka never slowed down or stayed still. He was moving back and forth across the stage and belting out song after song while feeding off the fans. Guitarist Toru Yamashita and bassist Ryota Kohama were so much fun to watch as well. They were constantly trading places and on the edge of the stage teasing the crowd. Killing it on the drum kit was Tomoya Kanki, literally the happiest drummer I have ever seen on a stage. You could see he and his band mates genuinely love playing together and to the insatiable crowd.

One of the most somber moments came during a few minutes of imposed silence before Taka spoke about the tour they were to do with Linkin Park before Chester Bennington passed away. “So, we added a cover song from them called ‘One More Light’ and I hope this reaches Chester! Let’s get the cell phones up!” With that, the venue lit up beautifully like a star field for a heartfelt tribute.

There were so many amazing moments during the show. Taka was airborne so many times as he jumped off his ego riser or Tomo’s drum riser. Ryota and Toru took flight in unison as well, and it just kept the crowd smiling, screaming, and singing every word at the top of their lungs.

What a performance! It was a great night of music and when they returned to the stage through deafening screams for the encore of “American Girls,” it seemed fitting. If you ever have a chance to see them live, don’t miss it.

Palisades opened the show in support of their 2017self-titled release. The New Jersey post-hardcore sextet put on a very no-nonsense show. Getting the crowd warmed up was no easy task, but they did a great job.

One Ok Rock Set List
Bombs Away
Taking Off
Clock Strikes
Bedroom Warfare
Bon Voyage
I Was King
One More Light (Linkin Park Cover)
Take What You Want
Instrumental Jam
The Beginning
Mighty Long Fall
We Are
American Girls

Review and photos by Neil Lim Sang

One Ok Rock