Since their debut in 2007, One Ok Rock has produced albums that have sat snug in the top 20s on the Orion chart. Although almost completely unknown outside Japan a mere 2 to 3 years back, the band has been rising through the ranks, and after interviewing with Fall Out Boy and featuring in Simple Plan’s single “Summer Paradise”, their latest album Jinsei x Boku =, has finally reached the top and is now at number 2 on the Orion chart.

The lines were as crazy as the queues from Avenged Sevenfold when they came to Singapore early last year. When asked, a few loyal followers confessed to arriving at the venue at 6pm the day before for the Who are you?? Who are we?? concert that happened on Nov 23.

As the fans waited patiently during the hour before showtime, they started to mingle and you could see the incredible range of people One Ok Rock pulled together through their music. There were harajuku girls and hardcore rocker ready to mosh in one corner, but it was the interactions between a 17-year-old local fan who was gushing to a set of Japanese housewives on the merit of getting tickets to the concert in Singapore instead of Japan (where tickets sold out within days of the opening), that showed how diverse the fanbase is.

As the lights started to dim, the screams of the fans started to crescendo and Morita Takahiro ran on stage with his signature red mike as the band moved into the opening of “Ending Story??”

The setlist started off with the tracks from their latest album Jinsei x Boku =, but older singles like “Jibun Rock” from their album Niche Syndrome weren’t forgotten either and gems of the older albums such as “NO SCARED” were brought out towards the end.

As the night progressed, the songs played felt like a slow lead up to the last 4 songs: “NO SCARED”, “Re:make”, “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer”, and “The Beginning”. Even though fans sang along throughout the gig, it wasn’t until the familiar first line of “Re:make”started that the room erupted in screams. At this point, the band had already been playing for almost an hour and as the fans sang along to Morita’s still astoundingly steady voice, it was only then that the show really started to climax.

With the exposure of all the 10 gigs that they’ve done in the past year, One Ok Rock has clearly moved to a different level of skill. Their sets are tighter and lyrically, they’ve moved into more English. Whether it’s to cater to a more international audience is anyone’s guess.

With the show riding a high of the band’s old hits, One Ok Rock wound down with the familiar lines of “The Beginning”, the one song that had everyone singing a background chorus to Morita’s belting. And boy did they make their fans work for an encore, trickling back on stage only after 10 minutes of the crowd switching between screaming and singing.

To kick things up some more, Morita holds out a red thong –a gift someone threw him- for inspection, before stuffing it into his back pocket to the screams of fans and leaving.

Photos courtesy of Aloysius Lim