LOKA at Woolpack Live, Doncaster

live report - 20.11.2017 20:20

Can this party band, well known for giving it their all and impressing J-rock fans, win over a brand new crowd in a small English town?

With a name like Woolpack Live, you’d be forgiven for expecting tonight’s audience to be a sedate crowd, but in a room full of black tees and tattoos, this is clearly a rock venue. Unlike so many Japanese bands that choose to perform a one-man show when abroad, LOKA will be supporting tonight, and before they take to the stage there are murmurings in the crowd “I hear some Japanese band is supporting tonight …” So the real question is, can this party band, well known for giving it their all and impressing J-rock fans, win over a brand new crowd in a small English town?

It doesn’t take long for Kihiro to start his swagger as the band launches into Slick. Immediately, they have the crowd's attention, the gap in front of the stage promptly closing with announcements that they’d travelled all the way from Tokyo and wanted to make everyone dance. Matching the party vibe of their music, every member of the band is animated. They jump, play and pose as they move through the early set, mixing electronic with heavy guitar and bass riffs, playing up to the heavier nature of the night’s crowd.

Halfway through the set LOKA changes the pace, with heavy ballad Calling showing that there is an emotional side to the electro-punk rockers, before promptly getting back to engaging with the audience. Playing on common stereotypes of the Japanese music scene, Kihiro speaks to the crowd while KEN’ICHI, Miro and RIU keep the momentum of the music playing behind him. The foundations already laid, the crowd by this point are well motivated as he teaches them to ‘dance’ like the Japanese do. This kind of behaviour normally wouldn’t be tolerated by an unknown support band, let alone in a venue that had been playing metal in between acts, but the fact that within seconds most of the people in the room have their hands in the air proves that these showmen from Tokyo have definitely won them over.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and after what seemed like only minutes after starting, it is time for LOKA to sign off for the evening, but not before they dip into their history to play the anthemic Club Rock S##t for their new UK fans before winding down with Tsubasa.

There is handshaking and messages of love for the crowd who are still dancing and cheering, until the very last chords. LOKA has certainly made an impression on this metal crowd for all the right reasons tonight, making the most of a reasonably small stage but delivering a performance worthy of a summer festival.

Set List

01. Slick
02. God’s Gone to Vegas
03. Breathe Me Out the Shadow
04. Calling
05. Thru
06. Eden
07. Club Rock S##t
08. Tsubasa

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In light of the robbery of LOKA's electronic equipment and cash in Paris on November 19th, a page to collect donations for the band has been created by Aurélie, promoter and friend of LOKA. Please visit https://www.leetchi.com/c/nonprofit-loka for more information.
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