For most of my teenage years, I grew up listening to Japanese music. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but that’s what happened. This, in turn, led to me writing about said music and getting to know and work with many of these artists. Consequently I’ve always enjoyed when massive, massive Japanese acts join along for much smaller shows and dates when they come over to America, so last night I went down to Tulsa’s Brady Theater to see ONE OK ROCK in a supporting slot for the Back to the Future Hearts tour, opening for Sleeping with Sirens and All Time Low.
ONE OK ROCK has been around for a decade as of 2015, but the last few years have seen them skyrocket in popularity. Last year saw them sell out 60,000 tickets in 2 days at Yokohama Stadium, and they’ve also been juggling support shows here in the U.S. with everyone from Yellowcard and Finch to a slot on Warped Tour. Earlier this year they signed with Warner Bros. here in the United States and released their latest album 35XXXV (in English!), so I was excited to come out and watch them play.
They kicked things off strong, Take Me To The Top sounding precisely how it does on the record. Vocalist Taka sounded spot on, and the song’s snappy drums and grinding guitar work served as a great way to get the crowd warmed up.
Although the band has a fairly extensive back catalogue, they chose to only play material from their English album. It would’ve been nice to hear some older material, but with only 25 minutes or so to play, I can understand why they chose to stick to the newer English material. While most in the crowd didn’t seem to know who the band were, they had no trouble winning people over with tracks that stylistically weren’t too different from the other acts on the bill.
It also didn’t hurt that Sleeping with Sirens vocalist Kellin Quinn came out to share vocalist duties with Taka on Paper Planes (he’s also featured on the album version). It surprised everyone in the crowd, and while the song was the poppiest of ONE OK ROCK’s set, it seemed to be a crowd favorite.
As Kellin stepped off stage, ONE OK ROCK closed out their supporting set with Mighty Long Fall, which finally got the crowd to sing along. The band was impressive live, and is definitely an act to keep your eyes on. They’ve become a bit more “Americanized” over time, but now that they’ve got an English album out there’s no telling where their sound will head next.
I was primarily there to check out ONE OK ROCK, but we did stay to hear what the other bands had to offer. While Welsh act Neck Deep had trouble sounding like anything more than a tribute act to the early 2000’s love affair with pop punk, both Sleeping with Sirens and All Time Low were impressive in their own ways.
The Kellin Quinn-fronted Sleeping with Sirens may have been the most popular act on this trek based solely on fan reaction. Quinn’s vocal range is pretty astounding, and while his tone may not be for everyone it was definitely impressive. Standout performances included set opener Kick Me and an acoustic take on The Strays.
All Time Low, while a pop punk band at heart, has evolved passed simply copying the bands that came before them. Unlike support act Neck Deep, All Time Low sounds original and undated. Sure, there were shades of Blink-182 in their performance (including the dick and ass jokes), but by and large they seem to have definitely developed their own sound and style after more than a decade together.
ONE OK ROCK: 3xxxv5, Take Me To The Top, Cry Out, Decision, Paper Planes, Mighty Long Fall
Sleeping with Sirens: Kick Me, Do It Now Remember It Later, We Like It Loud, Go Go Go, Tally It Up Settle the Score, Fly, Gold, The Strays, Scene Five: With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear, Scene Two: Roger Rabbit, Parasites, Congratulations, Better Off Dead, Don’t Say Anything, If You Can’t Hang
All Time Low:
Satellite, Kicking & Screaming, Lost in Stereo, A Love Like War, Dancing with a Wolf, Backseat Serenade, Weightless, Cinderblock Garden, Therapy, Missing You, Do You Want Me (Dead?), Don’t You Go, Poppin’ Champagne, Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t), Old Scars / Future Hearts, Kids in the Dark, Something’s Gotta Give, Dear Maria Count Me In
Check out a few more selected shots from each band below, followed by our full gallery:
Sleeping with Sirens:
All Time Low: