Japandroids @ The Rosemount Hotel
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Ears around Perth are still ringing from Japandroids’ raucous two-man assault on Wednesday night. Thank god the Rosemount sell ear plugs over the bar because this was one show bound to send you deaf in 2017.
Perhaps it was in part due to a slight crowd not soaking up enough of the sound. Whether it was the Wednesday night factor, too long between albums or just people not digging latest record Near to the Wild Heart of Life as much, it was an unexpectedly middling turnout for a band who have produced such stunning live sets in Perth previously.
Getting the (very) early set was local three-piece Foam, a good choice given they also generate a big sound from few instruments. Powering through the best bits of their terrific album of this year, Coping Mechanisms, Body Into Mine and I Could Milk Myself were early highlights before they came home strong with We Don’t Live in the U.S.A. and When Does It Get Better. You wouldn’t describe a band this noisy and grungy as slick, but they sure delivered a polished performance.
Later, Japandroids drummer David Prowse chastised the crowd for being in the beer garden during Foam’s set, implying they missed a great show. While it was more likely the fact Foam went on 20 minutes after doors opened, it was still high praise, and well deserved.
Kicking off their own set with their latest album’s title track (and best cut) Near to the Wild Heart of Life got the room “all fired up”, though it turned out to be the only track from the new record that really fired in a show that was slow to get started.
There were technical problems as guitarist Brian King blew an amp head two songs in, but more it was a lack of moshing (for a Japandroids show) that found the energy in the room a little lacking. Fire’s Highway was good, but it wasn’t until Wet Hair six songs in, lifted from 2009 debut album Post-Nothing, that the atmosphere started to rise.
Younger Us wasn’t far behind, and was dedicated to those fans “who saw us all those years ago,” according to King, who went on to say that “some things have changed, some have stayed the same” for the Canadians. Arc of Bar was indicative of the change, the near eight-minute epic adding an electronic backing track. It was one of the better tracks from their slower new record, though it was the older favourites that really shone. When they played Evil’s Sway for the first time in a long time, Perth got a little treat set to some anthemic backing vocals from Prowse.
From there it scarcely let up as The Night of Wine and Roses set the singalongs into overdrive. The run home of Continuous Thunder, Young Hearts Spark Fire and The House That Heaven Built even inspired a little crowd surfing. Finally, we were at a Japandroids gig.
No encore, no explanation, no apologies. Japandroids play loud rock and roll you can shout along to and while the new record didn’t work as well live as their older material, it’ll be interesting to see where they take their distictive brand of heartland punk next.
Photos by Q