Japandroids’ gig at The Zoo formed a well-articulated argument for seeing your favourite bands at their own shows, rather than festivals. I found Japandroids enjoyable but unexceptional at Laneway earlier in the year, but their ninety minute set (at their last Australian show) last night exceeded all expectations.
After a loose Velociraptor set (which was good, although the band were enjoying themselves more than the audience), the Vancouver duo launched into an unrestrained, exuberant molten performance. The setlist was comprehensive, including every track from Celebration Rock and almost all of Post-Nothing (“Heart Sweats” the only omission), plus the excellent B-side “Art Czars” (though they didn’t, sadly, unleash their Mclusky cover). Aside from “Rockers East Vancouver” (which suffered from David Prowse’s vocals being too low in the mix to carry the song), every song was a rousing success. The atmosphere was enervating thanks to an enthusiastic crowd of twenty- and thirty-somethings chanting along.
This is what live music is about – not a rough collection of a band’s most popular songs performed in front of a somewhat engaged audience, but a comprehensive celebration of a band’s music, from “slow jams” like “Crazy/Forever” to triumphant, controlled explosions like “The House That Heaven Built.”