Live review: Japandroids @ Korova

Posted on 1 March 2010
By Amy Roberts
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Oh, Apple Cannon. Let it be known that the lingering lethargy from Friday night boozing, and the onslaught of groggy head that attacks following the ill-advised late afternoon pints are blasted the fuck out of the evening by your storm of deliciously loud skin peeling thunder rock.

The red and green clad duo (drummer and guitarist, both sharing bombastic throaty vocal duties – what more do bands need these days?) are like a mental hygiene program, providing a sonic boom of Kyuss-esque brain cleansing doom.

From the palatably basic but feverishly fine riff-attacks of ‘Oh YEAH’ to the divinely catchy stoner-metal of ‘Lightning Mask’, it’s suffice to say that we’re well awake. Wide eyed. Buzzing. Jittering. Over-stimulated. This must be how Lindsay Lohan feels at 4am on a Wednesday morning.

Get the bevvs in lad! I’m good to go! I’m all over it!

Cold Ones too, don’t disappoint. The sound quality’s a bit iffy, to say the least with frontman Russell, high-voltage loud and energetic as he might be, not able to contend with the sheer noise of his bandmates performance. In fact it’s doubtful his microphone’s even on at some points. But fuck it, it’s hard to give a shit when a band can grant an after-song applause made up of high-fives all round like CO could.

High energy old-school hardcore punk. We never thought we’d see the like ever play in Korova – used to be that the hardcore scene were shuffled away to play gigs out of wheelie bins and death trap basements on the outskirts of the city centre, like the Oscar The Grouch of the music scene. We’ve come a long way, you guys.

Frontman Russell, donning a kamikaze bandana and laughing out between song banter that is at times delectably cringe-worthy, is an uproarious, blur of refreshing psychosis. The entirety of the stage area, including the totally unstable ceiling, all become his own private play pen. In a brave salute to Ian MacKaye, he threads the microphone through the rafters of the ceiling before hanging off it by his knees and continuing the lyrical howlings’ that command your complete attention at all times.

It’s nerve racking stuff, that. We once saw a fly stumble onto one of those rafters only to bring half the fucking ceiling down. Luckily, the CO frontman dives off unscathed. Whew. CO are everything you could want from hardcore punk. Loud, fast, pummeling, raw. They’re unyielding and fun – that’s right FUN. I can’t remember the last time that adjective was applied to the local music scene, but there you go. True Story, yo.

We Came Out Like Tigers are less so. In fact they’re a bit of a downer. We suddenly feel like Lindsay Lohan at 7am on a Wednesday morning when all the nose sugar has left the blood, and you’re left wondering what the fuck happened to your life, lovers, career and evening. Boo-fucking-hooooo!

Make no mistake, they’re an alright band – at least technically – but they just don’t seem to work within the context of the gig. Their arrival onstage, particularly having followed Apple Cannon and Cold Ones, is kinda like walking straight from a party at it’s peak to a interview with the Dole, wherein you’re somehow serendipitously stuck sitting between two of your ex-lovers who winge at you for a whole half hour before being berated by pen pushers for being a total fucking sponge.


The inclusion of a violin adds a nice level of melancholic, insistent drama to their set, and their opening song does have a tidy piece of spoken word in it, which is incredibly interesting, but a great many of their songs also tend to blur into the last one.

But then Japandroids take to the stage. And sweet child of mine, they are exactly the dreamy, scuzzy, riff-sultry heart grabbers that the hype machine warned us they’d be. Maybe even better than that.

‘Hi, I’m Brian, that’s David’ smiles guitarist / vocalist Brian pointing excitedly at his drummer, ‘we’re Japandroids from British Columbia Canada, and this is the last night of our European tour, so let’s get fucking wild’.

And wild they get. Feral, to be accurate. Kicking into The Boys Are Leaving Town – a catchy, upbeat number which builds up from it’s repetitive and gorgeously simplistic verses into it’s intensely epic chorus of ‘Will we find our way back home?’!.

The drums throughout the set are blindingly AMAZING. They punch through the flesh, the mind, the heart – they make the cans of Red Stripe in the hands of audience members foam up with vibrancy. Both of them are translucent in their energy – sparkling. Lithe limbed and discordantly sexy. You can’t take your eyes off them for a second.

Lo-fi anthemic, their minimalist brand of college rock is too infectious for words. Rockers East Vancouver, is performed with a rawness and exuberance that long outdoes it’s original recording, declaring lyrics loud and with a visceral permanence that’ll secure it’s place in the mind for days later. Wet Hair too, with it’s repeated lyrics of ‘She had wet hair/ say what you will/ I don’t care/ couldn’t resist it’, is just so insanely catchy and uproarious, that it’s impossible not to grin wide and beaming along to it. And sweet Christ, that drum roll at the end of the song nearly brings on a coronary. Sublime.

The audience is going ape-shit too. There’s at least more than a dozen people scattered around the place screaming hungrily along with every word – even along with the more obscure songs from the bands’ collection of older material.

The set is sadly blighted by a few technical difficulties. But as proved early on in the evening by Cold Ones, it really doesn’t much matter about tech issues so long as the set is attacked with vigour and exultance.

Except they do stop to fix it up.

They stop and stop and stop.The break seems to last a lifetime. Just when they seem to have it together, something else happens and the tech guy returns nervously tinkering with buttons while Dave sips water cooly on the drums and stares grinning at the audience, totally amused.

‘This is just like those buddy movies, you know, where like the cop is one day away from retirement and he suddenly get’s killed – this is kinda like the musical equivalent.’ he laughs.

Brian tries a thrum of a guitar riff. Something’s still fucking up. Dave continues, ‘We were so close! So close!’

But they get it together in the end, Lethal Weapon style, and storm the fuck on.

I Quit Girls, provides a melancholic change in tone and pace that is blissful, and more than a little spine chilling. All goose-pimpled downbeat, with their trademark lyrical repetition that wrings each word out dry, and cutting, but never drops it’s energy. ‘She was just one of those girls…After her, I quit girls’. Ouch.

The set seems to last an age. At times it becomes a trance like repetition of the tranquil, anti-tranquil, sublime and the rad. And yet it still seems to end too soon. You feel like screaming at the top of your lungs, Can We Keep Em?! Oh, Please! I Promise To Take Good Care Of Em! at the promoters. But instead they leave. Back to British Columbia Canada, and the audience looks so stoked from the experience that they may never sleep again. Lohan style.

Japandroids Myspace:

Japandroids official site:

Apple Cannon Myspace:

Cold Ones Official Site:

We Came Out Like Tigers Myspace: