Monday, 16 November 2009

Japandroids, Super Adventure Club, Bronto Skylift @ Sneaky Pete's

Japandroids @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 13/11/09 (****)

live review for the skinny

Technical problems hold up tonights This Is Music at a sold-out Sneaky Pete's, meaning opening band Bronto Skylift take the stage an hour behind schedule. A delay can work for a band if the crowd is sufficiently excited, but tonight Bronto struggle to rile people up, despite the drummer doing his best by climbing onto the bar and smacking the lights out. It's not because they don't have energy, but because their painfully abrasive guitarwork and manic drumming is very indulgent: they concede no ground to audience members holding out for for a hook.

Super Adventure Club are indulgent in another way, in the long solos and multi-part multi-tempo songs sense. Sometimes it's hard to hold onto the thread of a song through so many changes, but when you can, it's riveting - Math Rock and 17th Century Ambassadors are particularly awe-inspiring. Near the end, a heavy, hard ten-minute long freeform instrumental piece is full-stopped by a scream and a belch; the next song starts with a smooth croon, harmonising backing vocals, and a melody like a 60s Fairy Liquid advert. Super Adventure Club are never predictable.

Vancouver garage rock duo Japandroids step the energy levels up a gear, and this time the crowd goes with them because they have the tunes to match. There's nothing complicated here: Japandroids play fast and loudly distorted teen anthems about girls and mates, with repetitive shouted vocals, easy to shoutalong to. So we do, mutually assuring each other that a manifesto for life developed as a kid can still apply in young adulthood. Responsibilities? Sorry, we've no space, you're not getting in. We prefer raucous mclusky covers with knob jokes, thanks.

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