Review – Alistair Rathbone
Pics – Perri Cassie
Canadian terrible-twosome Japandroids have had a few nibbles at the Australian market over the past few years, playing the odd festival here, the odd two-show East Coast tour there, but never fully going the whole hog. Imagine our delight when a few months ago the Vancouver boys announced a FULL Aussie tour, complete with shows in Geelong, Newcastle and even those poor isolated bastards in Perth and Adelaide.
We couldn’t believe our luck of course, and we braved the blistering Melbourne cold on a Tuesday night to warm up in front of the Japandroids fire.
THE OTHER GUYS
Press Club were hand-plucked by their aforementioned Canadian hosts and for good reason – full of a wild, youthful energy that was just the ticket for any weary weekday workers who were desperately trying to shake the after effects of their 5pm meeting with the boss. Frontwoman Natalie Foster is a total badass and the sound coming out of the Melbourne 4 piece was unshakeable. They’ll be shaking a few more boots in the near future, make no mistake.
THE MAIN SQUEEZE
It’s never a good idea to get drunk on a Monday night – just ask Japandroids frontman Brian King, who after a somewhat shaky start to the show admitted his guilt to the crowd. “This is our first show of the tour and we got blind drunk last night.” Rookie error. Luckily for us, a rampant performance of Heart Sweats from Japandroids first ‘proper’ album Post-Nothing ripped King from his hungover state and got him back in the game. His own ‘sweats’ had done the trick.
Despite a volume level your Mum would feel was ‘about right’, Japandroids were relentless as they tore through an hour forty minutes of two man rock and roll, drummer David Prowse a machine on the kit, keeping a manic pace all whilst providing plenty of ‘woah-ohs’ and ‘wah-heys’ so characteristic of Japandroids sing-along-drunk style.
Frontman/Guitarist King was a little off with his vocals and often the ever so catchy vocal melodies were lost amongst the noise, which slightly stunted the crowd’s best efforts to sing along. Lucky for us, Prowse was on-song with the aforementioned woah-oh’s, so we all had something to cling to.
Whilst debuting a new album in a new country is always a tough task, Japandroids‘ new material never really seemed to get out of second gear – perhaps it was the unfamiliarity of the tracks for a crowd eager to hear the ‘classics’, but apart from set opener Near to the Wild Heart of Life, most new material fell a little flat. Luckily fan favourites such as Young Heart Spark Fire and The Nights of Wine and Roses went off like a 4th of July frat-house and had the whole crowd heaving.
By the end of the show, everyone was struggling to catch their breath. Luckily for most, The Corner is a huge venue and Brian King‘s profuse thrash-sweat didn’t entirely soak everyone, but the energy exuded by the hard working Canucks filled everyone to the brim.
Now to shake off the Wednesday morning hangover…
A mid-set technical malfunction inadvertently provided one of the night’s best Spinal Tap moments, as drummer Prowse was left on stage solo to fill time to the backing track for new song Arc of Bar. King eventually returned to continue, but several failed attempts to resume the chorus saw a resigned King flail his arms in bemusement. 15 minutes of ‘improv-jam’ later, things resumed normal transmission to the cheers of the crowd.
“Our sound guy told us while we were sound checking that we were starting to sound TOO professional- I guess we showed him!”
-The boys saw the funny side of their technical malfunctions mid-way through the set.