Japandroids @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 30.10.12

“I want this to be a fucking moment.” The final night of a huge European tour and turning 30 at the stroke of midnight, guitarist Brian King of the enigmatic garage rock duo Japandroids had every right to want this show to be an indelible memory.

Oct 30th, 2012 at Hare & Hounds, Birmingham / By Dave Reynolds
Japandroids @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 30.10.12 This is a band that makes music to tour and lives to play live. Every show is full of the same energy and passion that protrudes violently from their thunderous guitars and booming drums. So even though it was a show for a couple of hundred midweek revellers on a dark, grey daylight-savings night, there was no question of half measures.

The live show helps to bring their already-anthemic sound into a colossal realm of noise. ‘Wet Hair’ and ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’ turn into euphoric chanting matches as the crowd battles to leave an imprint on the ferocious film of sound created by the band. While there is a minimalism to what the band can creatively do with only drums and a guitar, the performance is completely maximal.

King threw himself around stage, pausing briefly to swig from a bottle of Jim Bean between songs. Despite requests from the crowd to ‘down it’, he explained that his 29 years have certainly taught him what he can and can’t handle when it comes to drinking.

Tracks from LP number two, Celebration Rock, get a thunderous welcome. ‘Adrenaline Nightshift’ sounds like a generation-defining waster anthem. King chants: “Beat life to my body, sulking drunk at the back of a bar.” The drums blister through, puncturing the ferocious energy bursting from the guitar.

As Japandroids tore through their set, the gaps in between were filled with a couple of attempted renditions from the crowd of Happy Birthday. However, the rest of the time there was a calm quiet between songs which the band referred to as ‘The Switzerland Silence’. King tried to motivate the crowd into getting a little livelier with the thought that their plane could go down over the Atlantic on their way back to Canada - so this could have been the last show ever - to which drummer David Prowse burst out: “What the fuck?” The moment showed a glimpse of the interplay between the two, outside of the usual back and forth between guitars and drums.

Perhaps this wasn’t quite the moment that King wanted, or that the band deserved. Despite this, Japandroids will always show dedication to the rock n’ roll cause, with every track and every show played with the same blinding intensity.