Japandroids, Talons, Male Bonding
Steven Morgan 23/02/2010
Sometimes when performing, bands like to recreate their songs in a note perfect way near indistinguishable from the original recording, for example Interpol. Sometimes bands like to completely rework their songs to keep life on the road interesting and breathe new life into them, for example The Fiery Furnaces. Sometimes bands just want to rock the fuck out and care more about people having a great time than any of the aforementioned minutiae, for example Japandroids. Brian King is like a child on a sugar high bounding around the stage with more excitement emanating from his whole person than you'd expect from a man in a band with such a relentless touring schedule. Contrived, this isn't, it doesn't take much to realise the man is genuinely loving what he's doing.
Stacks of amps line up behind Brian, either necessary to give his guitar coverage over the sonic spectrum left entirely to him as part of a two piece or just because it looks so damn cool. Most likely a bit of both. The bass in his guitar sound is overwhelming, often muddying the high end detail, but as I said before, this isn't about a tearful note for note recreation. This is about a band doing everything they can to incite levels of excitement in a crowd akin to Les Savy Fav levels. They've got their work cut out too. It's Tuesday, it's London and we're down the road from Buckingham Palace. Hardly ideal for a rock show. Despite this, there's something so infectious about their cataclysmic performance and hilarious, innocent charm in their stage banter that you can't help but endear to them.
With only one album to date and a series of single cuts to be released, the set covers pretty much the everything they've done to date, with an explosive rendition of Heart Sweats seeing both Brian & David Prowse's seem as though they're about to lose their vocal chords as they scream out the anthemic "X O X O X / X O X / Some hearts bleed / Our hearts sweat". There was even breathing space for improvisation with the set opening to an explosive jam seeing every drum and every string used to full noise potential. It was quite a number of minutes in through the excitement they remembered to actually play a song, leading perfectly into The Boys Are Leaving Town.
As you can imagine, the new songs heard tonight are hardly giant leaps sonically, there's only so much they can do with their limited sound setup, but this night the melody often shone brighter on the newer tracks. Perhaps a side result of the joy of playing fresh material as opposed to songs played hundreds of times prior, perhaps because they're conscious of the fact that without prior knowledge of the tracks played, with such relentless delivery, it would be hard to pluck the anthemic melodies through the apocalyptic sound. That didn't matter here though, this is the forth time Japandroids have played London and they're transitioning from just winning over knew fans and giving the people what they want. Catch them before they explode.