Rock & Roll can be catharsis. It can give you a release of everything that is built up inside as you yell to the heavens or it can simply make you let loose and throw all your problems out the door. Brian King and David Prowse a.k.a Japandroids provided all the necessary tunes for the best release of everyone’s weekly troubles by playing their hearts out on Sunday night at The Brightside Brisbane.
Japandroids’ tour came hot on the heels of the band’s acclaimed third album, ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ – released January on Pod/Inertia. This run of dates marked Japandroids’ first visit to Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth in four years with performances taking place in Sydney and Melbourne also. The two-piece band from Vancouver, BC began in 2006 and consists of Brian King and David Prowse. Japandroids are one guitar, one set of drums, and two vocalizers. Sounding like a band of 5 instead of two Japandroids are maximal in their delivery with high volume rock and roll tracks and an energetic stage presence.
Supporting the duo this time around was Brisbane 5 piece punk outfit WAAX. There is so much hype currently surrounding WAAX at the moment with the announcement as tour supports for the Dune Rats and Fall Out Boy as well as their own headline tour, Shakafest and Sounds Of The Suburbs. I was excited to finally have the chance to see them for myself and they well and truly exceeded all my expectations.
There was hair everywhere and killer riffs flying in all directions. Their upbeat tracks had the crowd moving within seconds as people kept piling inside to see the action. With the recent release of their EP ‘Wild & Weak’ WAAX had plenty of new tracks for those who hadn’t seen them before as well as their classic oldies for the fans that have supported them from the start.
For such a small stage there was so much happening all the time. The entire band grooved to every track reflecting the energy being expelled into the crowd and the response was a break out of head bopping and lyric screaming madness. Songs such as Same Same and Nothing Is Always showcased the raw passion WAAX is known for and at times it felt like they had enough energy to blast the roof off. Even though vocalist Maz could barely speak between each song she some how continued to poor her heart soul into every track with energy that didn’t fade no matter how exhausted she was.
WAAX left everything they had on the stage. Not one beat was out of line, there wasn’t a second of silence and by the end of their set I was surprised any of them had the energy to even walk off the stage. It was raw untamed passionate musicianship at its finest and I now fully understand just why everybody loves them because from the minute they started I fell in love with them too.
After a small airy pre recorded intro the crowd roared with applause as the boys from Japandroids entered the stage. Vocalist Brian King some how was already sweaty even though the set hadn’t started but no one seemed to care as the crowd immediately threw their bodies to the beat. For those unfamiliar with Japandroids sound it can effectively be summed up as the musical equivalent of crying in your room alone because the girl who you like doesn’t like you and that getting older is the end of the world only to then to pick up a drink while screaming ‘F**k it’ because you still have time and everything is going to be sweet.
Japandroids kicked off their set with their recent record’s title track Near To The Wild Heart Of Life setting the pace for the rest of the night as the blare from Kings guitar mixed with the ridiculous tempo of David’s drumming started an uproar from the crowd during the track’s “oh oh!” From then on it was a roller coaster of tracks which could only be described as new world dad rock and I loved every minute of it.
The two boys had an obvious and beautiful connection on the stage which only made their performance more enjoyable as they fed each others energy. You could tell Japandroids loved to rock out and you could tell they loved to rock out even more when they were together on the stage in front of dedicated fans.
Japandroids played a range of songs from their latest record ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ such as North East South West and Arc Bar but they also took us back to some of their older tunes such as The House That Built Heaven Brought and Fire’s Highway. The crowd and my personal favourite was 2012 ‘Celebration Rock’ album track Younger Us which kick started the best sing a long for the night as David leaped around the stage throwing everything into every guitar and vocal note that left his body.
At times I thought David’s hands might fall off as he hit the drums so quickly it looked like he was holding twelve sticks at one time. Brian’s vocals were raw and loud and his guitar although changed around 12 times throughout the set was played to perfection. Japandroids were a good old fashioned high energy rock and roll duo and their live performance was killer. Lets just hope they don’t wait another four years to return to the stage in Australia again.
JAPANDROIDS REMAINING TOUR DATES
TUE 18 JUL
Fat Controller, Adelaide
WED 19 JUL
Rosemount Hotel, Perth
FRI 21 JUL
Kings Arms, Auckland (NZ)
SAT 22 JUL
San Fran, Wellington (NZ)