I felt it then and I feel it now. The sheer energy spewing off the stage, the sweat, the spit and the strain. The thrill of nothing held back. The throng of voices battling their own limitations, and people not thinking about tomorrow. There is nothing like rock & roll.
I cut out of a nine-to-fiver a little early to get down to the city before doors. I knew I wanted to be up at the front for this show. It would be my first time seeing both Japandroids and openers Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers and neither disappointed. Craig Finn, formally of The Hold Steady, delivered songs in full force. As a band they could not have been more cohesive. Finn regales the audience with tales of life, love, and friendship. His songs remind me of someone forcefully painting picture. It’s aggressive and driving and when it’s done you look back and can’t help but smile.
Soon after the roadies revealed Japandroids’ gear and lights, Brian King and David Prowse took the stage. Plugging into six guitar amplifiers and a bass rig, they opened with the title track of their latest album. The energy surge was instantaneous. It took no time at all for everyone to be shouting every word back at Brian who would later reveal that he was feeling a little under the weather. The duo showed no signs of slowing down despite doing all this the night before as well. They played a good mix of their past albums and their latest, following the first song with Adrenaline Nightshift and Fire’s Highway (probably my favourite of their songs).
The night was unrelenting. Brian and David giving everything they had to each song and the audience giving back. Stage diver after stage diver, echoing what I believe to be the very essence of what Japandroids is all about, Youth. It got to the point where one of the sound guys came onto the stage to discourage people from running up on stage, he stayed till the end of the song and as soon as the next one started folks were back up there, leaping into the sea of hands.
The show ended with Craig Finn joining Japandroids on stage to cover (I’m) Stranded by Australian punks The Saints, and the night ended with milkshakes after midnight.