“It’s Saturday night in Philadelphia, and we are the only ones here who have anything to do tomorrow,” Japandroids guitarist Brian King said to a sold out crowd at Union Transfer on Saturday, Dec. 8. The crowd roared their approval before the band launched into their set.
“Celebration Rock,” the second album by Vancouver’s Japandroids, starts with a bang – literally. The sounds of fireworks start off the album, and the same sounds close it out.
Japandroids have enjoyed a certain level of success in 2012. SPIN Magazine just named them “Band of the Year,” and their sophomore album has shown up on dozens of year-end music lists.
Japandroids is a two-piece, with David Prowse on drums, Brian King on guitar, and both members providing vocals. Their live performance is a frenzy– King leaped across the stage during songs, yet seemingly never missing his parts.
Prowse was a machine behind the drum kit all night, delivering a huge solo during “Evil’s Sway.” During the solo, while the venue’s lights provided a spectacle, King climbed up on Prowse’s drum set and finished the song silhouetted against the lights.
The band played a mix of songs off “Celebration Rock” and their debut album “Post Nothing.” “Adrenaline Nightshift” is a fast, frenzied rock tune.
From the moment they took to the stage to the last song, the two were hard at work and seemed to be having a blast at the same time. They closed with a cover of “For The Love of Ivy” by Gun Club, ending the night on a high note and leaving the crowd satisfied and successfully sore-throated.
Early into the set, a shoe found its way off its owner’s foot, leaving King to later place it directly center stage on the wall of amplifiers behind him and challenge the owner to come and get it.
“I don’t mind you coming up here and going nuts, but this is my stage,” King said. “If you’re up here for more than 20 seconds I might start getting jealous that attention is being diverted away from me.”
A few brave fans ventured up on stage to leap off into the crowd within King’s requested time frame.
Before launching into “Continuous Thunder,” the last song the new album, King told the crowd about the song’s connection to Philadelphia.
“We played at Johnny Brenda’s last time we were here and it’s so small compared to this place,” King said. “When we were unloading it was pissing rain and there was continuous thunder the entire time.”
King praised Philadelphia and the energy and reception of the crowd throughout the night.
“Philadelphia, you’re crazy,” King said. “Who knew?”