Photos by Carolyn Hanson
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Vancouver, BC two-piece Japandroids. On November 17, 2013, after a 40-country tour following their sophomore LP Celebration Rock, the band announced one day (to everyone’s surprise) that they were going to “disappear into the ether for a while.” And they did disappear. For three years. Without further explanation. Fast forward to August 10, 2016. Japandroids added a new photo on Facebook — the announcement for a 10-city tour. They were, as inexplicably and suddenly as their disappearance, back in the game. And as it turns out, they were just waiting for their moment.
Their first Knitting Factory date out of two started out with another Canadian band, the noise-punk four piece Greys. And when I say noise, I do mean noise–one of their amps quite literally started smoking two songs into the set and had to be replaced.
But for how good Greys were, the energy and vitality of Japandroids’ set just couldn’t have been beat. Despite consisting of two people, Japandroids put on a better show than most bands with four or more members, the best part being that past the set list none of it felt planned or rehearsed. Often, when bands come back on the scene after a prolonged absence, they tend to practice too much; their sound during shows is too similar to their albums, and every move appears choreographed.
But not Japandroids. Staying true to their own “Crazy/forever” spirit, everything they did, everything they said, felt like it was the first time they were doing or saying it. The set felt unplanned without being sloppy. Of course, no one could have predicted the response they’d get from the 21+ crowd. The mosh pit that formed (not a common sight at 21+ shows) along with every person in the building screaming the lyrics they had been waiting to for three years was just as authentic as the set itself. Japandroids mean something to their fans in a way that most bands could only hope to achieve. And despite their no cares ethos, it’s clear that this give and take interaction between fans and band members is what makes them an unforgettable live show.