Live Review: Japandroids at the Rosemount Hotel
Wednesday, July 19 saw a night full of killer rock and roll, with Canadian duo Japandroids bringing their Near to the Wild Heart of Life tour to the Rosemount Hotel.
Local act FOAM ensured that the (disappointingly) few who did arrive early were sufficiently entertained, with another trademark blistering set. At this point, FOAM have become alternative rock royalty in the Perth music scene, with their years together culminating in an extremely tight yet very loud set. I was eager to catch them live, being a fan of their debut record Coping Mechanisms, and they didn’t disappoint.
Japandroids entered on stage to the sounds of 'Punk Rock:' by Mogwai, with frontman Brian King dancing like a zombie before taking up his guitar and ripping into the title track from their newest album Near to the Wild Heart of Life. From there on, it was minute after minute of good old fashioned rock bashed out by two very likeable guys, occasionally interrupted by a quip or two; after commenting that they were heading to "Australia’s Canada” (New Zealand) next, King apologised for “…making Australia the United States in this comparison,” which received some hearty cheers from the crowd.
(Photos by Thomas Manson)
Despite the odd (barely noticeable) technical difficulties, Japandroids were in fine form. David Prowse is one exceptional drummer, and a more than serviceable backing vocalist. Sure, King couldn’t quite match the manic, youthful passion of their earlier recorded material, but he delivered each line and guitar riff with enough intensity to more than make up for any shortcomings.
As expected, Japandroids’ set drew largely from their solid latest album (every song from it, in fact). As expected, cuts off 2012’s iconic Celebration Rock drew a much warmer reaction from the audience; every song from that record but 'For the Love of Ivy' and 'Adrenaline Nightshift' was played. Still, newer songs were played with enough vitality to ensure the show never got boring, and some were stunning even for those who were not as impressed by Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, such as the affecting 'I'm Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)'. Japandroids also paced their set perfectly, so that any time the audience’s attention was slipping, there was a banger like 'Evil’s Sway' or 'Continuous Thunder' to bring it right back. Post-Nothing was given its dues too, via show staples 'Wet Hair' and 'Young Hearts Spark Fire', both proving to be sure highlights.
If the disparate ages of the audience was any indicator, Japandroids have seemingly, somehow, shockingly become rock veterans ala The Strokes very quickly. And just as you’d want from an act like that, they had a distinguishable flare that was a joy to watch live. When signature track 'The House That Heaven Built' finally made itself welcome, the generally close-to-motionless crowd was finally whipped into a frenzy of moshing and crowd-surfing, bringing the night to a spectacular end.