'Adrenaline Nightshift' indeed
Japandroids - Live At The Garage, London

It’s hard to believe Canadian garage rockers Japandroids are only a two-piece considering the enormity of the noise they emit in this tiny venue. From the back it even looks like there are more people in the band. Every time we catch a glimpse of Brian King he’s in a different place, jumping around the stage as though doing the work of three other members.

This is the final date of the UK tour and every ounce of energy left is dutifully being given to the fans. The Garage is being treated to the kind of show that makes the floor vibrate beneath your feet and the bubbles in an otherwise flat pint froth to the surface. Those down at the front bounce around as though caught at the centre of a tornado, and the way the place is shaking would make an earthquake seem like a meek occurrence.

The second track played, ‘Adrenaline Nightshift’, could be its own succinct review of this gig. Coming on at half nine the duo put in the hours, playing everything in their repertoire in an unrelenting lengthy set. David Prowse wields the sticks high in the air and beats the skins with an irascible fervour. Some of the crowd jump so high when the drums kick in that they literally bang their heads on the lighting rig above the low ceiling. Even unreleased songs from the upcoming second record ‘Celebration Rock’ are greeted as though they’re long lost classics by an incandescent audience.

So how has such a level of ardent support gathered for a band that as yet only have one eight-track album to their name? Well, things could have ended a long time ago. After playing in their Vancouver home to little response both decided to record the album ‘Post Nothing’ as a last goodbye, but independent Canadian label Unfamiliar Records then released it and the debut was met with hugely positive reviews, even making it onto the long-list for the Polaris Music Prize. Having come so close to giving up their musical dream they’re now clearly living the dream with an unparalleled ferocity in venues around the world.

Just looking at the irascible expression on drummer David Prowse’s face as he wields the sticks high in the air during ‘Evil’s Sway’ is proof enough of the purpose and self-belief now present. Material from ‘Celebration Rock’ more than matches the already revered output. ‘The House That Heaven Built’ is a storming future anthem with brilliant lyrics. “When they love you and they will, tell them all they’ll love in my shadow, and if they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell!!!” screams Brian, but we’d probably need another row of exclamation marks in there to illustrate his conviction.

‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’ gets the biggest response, the crowd screaming in unison and giving everything in their lungs back to the two. Passion is overflowing on both sides of the stage and it’s not long until the two combine. Someone gets up and screams into the microphone with Brian before playing their own air guitar and drum solos. Previous single ‘Younger Us’ has hands clapping away in a nostalgic celebration. Everything’s played with such vigour that we’re not quite sure if this is simply the last night on tour or the denouement of an apocalyptic last night on earth.

Words by Simon Butcher
Photo by Rachel Lipsitz

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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