Since the release of their 2012 sophomore opus, Celebration Rock, Japandroids have occupied a spot in the musical zeitgeist as one of Canada’s all-time greatest bands. These droids are manufactured in Vancouver, which is evident in the group’s repertoire of songs, which often namedrop geographical locations in British Columbia.
When Japandroids’ first chord rang across the stage of the Corona Theatre last week, the audience was instantly transfixed and didn’t divert their attention until the end of the 15-song set. The Vancouver natives kicked off their first Montreal performance in years with the title track off their latest release, Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Japandroids’ music operates on sheer kinetic energy, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that guitarist and vocalist Brian King’s vivacity on stage perfectly paralleled his playing and singing on the record.
Filling the venue to its absolute brim, the show was an amazing presentation of synergy formed between audience and performer. The crowd was moshing and singing along with untutored enthusiasm throughout the show. Such was the case for the performers themselves, who transferred this energy back and forth like wildfire. The energy was tossed to-and-fro from band to audience and vice-versa.
King asked if anyone in the crowd was at the band’s Cabaret Mile-End show, which took place all the the way back in December 2012. A few zealous responses were scattered throughout the crowd. King devoted “Younger Us” to the dedicated few who attended that show.
The two fans fixed at the front of the crowd were sporting homemade “North East South West” baseball caps, which caught King’s eye. The titular song off the band’s latest effort, “Near to The Wild Heart Of Life,” was dedicated to those two, who seemed to be revitalized with new energy that somehow topped their initial gusto.
And of course, there had to be that one guy who, at every concert, yells out a request to play “Free Bird.” Not usually in the band’s lineup of songs, but the request caught the interest of King, who, for a brief moment, considered covering the song with his ill-prepared drummer, David Prowse, so that they could both botch the song together.
The set ended on a particularly climactic note, with an especially stomping rendition of the band’s biggest anthem, “The House That Heaven Built.” There was no encore, but it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say everyone in attendance felt satisfied with King and Prowse’s performance.
Photos by Erin Walker