“The foreplay is over, now there is only time for apologies” says Japandroids’ Brian King after opener “The Boys Are Leaving Town”. Which sparked a crowd reaction that is lively by most band’s standards, but is just a warmup for the Vancouver, British Columbia Two Piece. They up-shift the crowd by bursting into “Adrenaline Nightshift”, from their new album Celebration Rock.

Immediately, it’s clear that the duo are playing to an audience whose summer was sound-tracked by Celebration Rock. An album that has undoubtedly brought many new faces since their last London show, and after a blazing mid set version of “The House That Heaven Built”, drummer David Prowse says with pride: “the last time we played that in London about 10 people knew it, I was bummed”. But now, only a few short months later, the audience puts Prowse out of his backing vocals job, as they loudly shout every “oh-oh-oh” hook. It’s impossible to say which of their Barn Burners receives the biggest reaction. Every song is greeted like it’s a mega-hit and even when they play, ‘their hit single’,(which even King admits is a loose term) “Young Hearts Spark Fire” it is greeted just as warmly as any album cut.

They play almost the entirety of their two, eight track, 35 minute long albums. Bar one songs from their debut album Post-Nothing,(apparently they quit “I Quit Girls”) which is replaced by their cover of McClusky’s “To Hell With Good Intentions”. Which King barks the lyrics to, his guitar tone doused in Kerosene.

King ends “Continuous Thunder” the slower and ‘quieter’ album closer with a loud flash of guitar distortion, perhaps suggesting that he is uncomfortable when the band is temporarily not exuding raw power. He takes care to actually sing the poignant lyrics. “Crazy/Forever”’s sludgy riff is bone shaking and the crowd happily obliges when King introduces “Younger Us” as “the go crazy song”.

They race through the set in order to appease Heaven’s early curfew, and make room for the “disco dance party”, which judging from the sweaty crush of the crowd is something that few in attendance had interest in. Along with some crowd-sourced stage diving they “bring a little California to London” and close with The Gun Club’s “For the Love of Ivy”. The stage dive was encouraged to brighten what had supposedly been a miserable day for them, but based solely on their full-throated life affirming rock and roll set, you’d never guess it.

5/5

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