jakub | May 3, 2024

PROLOGUE TO NEW PROG: HAKEN’S DEBUT CONCERT AT WWW X IN TOKYO, JAPAN ON APRIL 26, 2024


 

 

In the bustling district of Shibuya, Tokyo, anticipation filled the air as fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Haken, the progressive metal sensation from the UK, for their first performance in Japan. With their latest album Fauna (2023) generating buzz and excitement, tonight’s concert promised to be a night of musical innovation and sonic exploration.

The venue WWW X was packed to the brim with Japanese fans and a growing number of foreign tourists and residents, all eager to witness Haken’s performance. As the band took the stage against the backdrop of the lush forest imagery from their latest album, the atmosphere crackled with excitement. The stage was enveloped in a sea of red lights.

Notably, the organizer had announced a no-photography policy for this show. Only Jake Ten, the tour photographer, and I were officially permitted to photograph their show. This added a sense of responsibility and tension for me to capture the essence of their performance.

Kicking off the set with precision and flair, Haken treated the packed venue to a showcase of their musical prowess. From the intricate rhythms of “Prosthetic” from their sixth album Virus (2020) to the ethereal melodies of “Nightingale,” from the latest release Fauna, the band demonstrated their ability to seamlessly blend modern metal with elements of 70’s progressive rock, captivating the audience with their genre-defying sound.

Throughout the performance, Ross Jennings‘ dynamic and rich vocals soared above the heavy riffage provided by guitarists Richard Henshall and Charlie Griffiths. Ross’s interactions with the crowd further elevated the atmosphere, leaving fans ecstatic. Bassist Conner Green‘s intricate bass lines anchored the band’s sound, while drummer Raymond Hearne‘s thunderous beats drove the music forward with relentless energy. Noteworthy was the return of keyboardist Peter Jones, who rejoined the band in 2022 after a hiatus since 2008. His versatile playing added a fresh dimension to the band’s sound, contributing to the overall brilliance of the performance.

My favorites of the night were “Lovebite,” where the audience enthusiastically joined in, and “Elephants Never Forget,” both from Fauna, showcasing telepathic guitar interplay. Haken’s music is not only technically impressive but also remarkably melodic, inviting the audience to lose themselves in the complex rhythms and sing along with joy. The concert was a testament to the band’s ability to bridge generations, appealing to both seasoned prog rock enthusiasts and younger audiences alike.

The main set concluded with 19 minutes long “Crystallised” from the EP Restoration (2014), leaving the audience clamoring for more. For the encore, Haken delighted the audience with a rendition of “Puzzle Box” followed by the instrumental masterpiece “Nil by Mouth” from their fifth album Vector (2018). As the final notes of “Cockroach King” from The Mountain (2013) reverberated through the venue and the applause erupted in appreciation, it was evident that Haken’s first Tokyo show had been a resounding success. Despite the show’s brevity compared to their US performances, with their innovative sound, masterful musicianship, and captivating stage presence, Haken had left an indelible mark on the Japanese audience, solidifying their reputation as one of the most exciting bands in the progressive metal genre.

 

Band:

Ross Jennings – Lead Vocals

Richard Henshall – Guitars, Keyboards

Raymond Hearne – Drums

Charlie Griffiths – Guitars

Conner Green – Bass

Peter Jones – Keyboards

 

 

Set list:

1. Prosthetic

2. Nightingale

3. Sempiternal Beings

4. Beneath the White Rainbow

5. earthrise

6. Lovebite

7. Elephants Never Forget

8. Canary Yellow

9. Crystallised

Encore:

10. Puzzle Box / Nil by Mouth

11. Cockroach King

 

 

 

 

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