Celebration Rock? – Review of Japandroids at Paradise Rock Club
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, 12/09/12
This show was highly anticipated by me. I missed Japandroids earlier in the year at Brighton Music Hall (a huge regret) and vowed not to make the same mistake twice. Therefore my tickets were in hand months in advance, and as a group of friends and I converged on the Paradise, my anticipation rose. I was ready to rock.
Japandroids opened the evening with their 2012 stand-out “Adrenaline Nightshift”, where guitarist Brian King pleads that he’s “Waiting for a generation’s bonfire to begin” – and from the reaction of the sold-out Paradise crowd, he’s going to be waiting a long time. In short, I thought the show sucked, and not because of Japandroids, but because of the young, lame, boring crowd. Maybe I’m a victim of internal build-up, boozing too early, or being on the wrong side of 30 – but there was significant buzz lacking for a show that should have been so much more.
Japandroids won’t play a venue this small in Boston for awhile, and I was stoked to see them in a true club environment. Some of the best rock shows I’ve seen have been at the Paradise. Guided by Voices, Tame Impala, Meat Puppets, The Jicks, too many to name. But this entire night had a feeling of forced, and I honestly felt bad that Japandroids didn’t have a better muse to play off of. When the crowd did feign excitement it felt like these kids were trying to imitate a 90’s rock show instead of just losing themselves in the night. There was too much “checking in”, too many crossed arms, and the little crowd surfing there was seemed to be done for the sole purpose of getting a new profile picture. The show didn’t suck, these brats did.
It was nice to hear some deeper cuts off of No Singles and Post-Nothing, but the crowd really brought me down and turned a great day into a shitty night. I left with plenty of music to be played in favor of grabbing some pizza back in Cambridge, something I certainly didn’t anticipate when building up the night in my head. I love this band, and adore the album they’re touring, shit, I even gave Celebration Rock top-billing for my “Best of 2012” list, but if these kids are carrying the torch of Rock than the rise of EDM makes a hell of a lot of sense. Their fire exudes no heat or passion, the only light is smartphone generated, and all the action is posed. I wanted to rock, Japandroids provided a spark, but for this generation, the bonfire doesn’t exist.