Have you never heard of One Ok Rock? Well, after what we heard at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday the 21st, it’s not OK anymore.
One Ok Rock is an alternative rock band out of Tokyo, Japan. They’re not strangers to the music industry as their latest release, Ambitions, released on January 13th, was their eighth studio album. But it wasn’t until the last few years when they started touring internationally. Their first official tour outside of Asia wasn’t until late 2013 and their first Vans Warped Tour wasn’t until 2014; but only in the last two years have they really started to break through. In late 2015, they toured as openers for All Time Low and Sleeping with Sirens and released an English version of 35xxv. Now, they’re headlining in North America.
The show started with their chilling track “Taking Off”. As lead singer Taka (Takahiro Moriuchi) sang “drag me all the way to hell”, we could only feel that we were being dragged in the exact opposite direction. Their years of experience showed in every way possible: the drums were in sync, the guitar and bass never missed a note, and Taka’s voice was so pure yet so strong. Furthermore, each member had great style and such stage presence. No one hid in the background. Everyone stood out but still blended effortlessly with each other.
They followed “Taking Off” with “Take Me To The Top”, one of their harder, fast-paced tracks. It brought the energy level of the venue through the roof, which they then brought back down following with a few of their slower tracks.
One Ok Rock mainly played tracks off on 35xxv and their new album, Ambitions, including their most pop-sounding song, “Hard to Love”, which led to Toru (Yamashita) switching from the electric to the acoustic guitar. Fans also enjoyed live versions of “Cry Out”, “Deeper”, “Clock Strikes”, Decision”, and more on their set list.
The last song of the set, before the encore, was the band’s breakout hit in America: “Mighty Long Fall”. The crowd was with them for every note, every rhythm change, and every command given by Taka. The best part: the crowd mostly dropped their phones to appreciate the moment. How often does that happen? Fittingly, One Ok Rock ended the show with “American Girls”, a new upbeat track off Ambitions. Ending the show singing about how they’re obsessed with American girls? Smooth, boys. Smooth.
Unlike most shows in the Los Angeles area, the crowd wasn’t ethnically diverse. Even with international bands, it’s hard not to see a diverse turnout in LA. But with One Ok Rock, the crowd was predominantly of Asian descent. With the band now being signed to Fueled by Ramen, here’s hoping that they expand their reach to fans of all cultural backgrounds as their music certainly has no bounds.