January 30, 2013

Japandroids and DIIV live at the Phoenix in Toronto

To cap off a very busy (for me, at least) year of concert-going, I caught a sold-out show by Japandroids with Diiv at the Phoenix Concert Theatre here in Toronto. It was an incredible night of talent that was the absolute perfect way to close out the season and allow me to put my earplugs up on the shelf for a few months of long, cold winter.
After walking in, backpacks in tow, setting up their own gear and doing a quick sound check, Diiv dove into their set. They played a solid set of tunes from Oshin while generally keeping to the shoegaze vibe with lots of energy. Definitely glad that I saw this band live.
Their Toronto stop marked the end of their tour with Japandroids. They left to head back to NYC for an appearance on Letterman. Check them out doing a fast-sounding version of "Doused" for Dave.

And here's the first song I heard from them, the great "How Long Have You Known?".

Confession time. I'm a cheater. I go to shows, I snap some uber crappy pictures with my hi-tech iPod Touch and I write up some stuff. I make certain assumptions. Like that someone is going to keep track of what they played and put it up on setlist.fm. Well, all you lazy slackers in Toronto, you let me down! So I'm assuming that they mostly played the same set as they did in Montreal the previous night. After all, they talked about how awesome the Montreal show was, and used it to whip the Toronto crowd into a frenzy by taunting them that they weren't going to let the Montreal audience be crazier than them, were they? Well, they didn't. Everyone in the room, along with those who took advantage of Brian King's offer to share the stage with them - for 10 seconds - made sure the Toronto show rocked.

They also told us what they thought of anyone's desire to go home early because the show was on a work/school night. Fuck that!

There were points in the show where I thought that if Scotty from Star Trek was running engineering for my earplugs, he would have been exclaiming, "Captain, they've got to turn it down! They can't take much more!"

As I watched this and many recent shows, I have been wondering whether smart phones and YouTube have made bands better. Since everything ends up recorded and up on the web, do bands have to pay more attention to getting it right when they know a concert flub won't be just a passing moment, soon to be forgotten by loyal fans?

Overall, it was a fantastic show from a couple of great bands. No doubt it was the last chance we'll all have to see Japandroids in such a relatively small room. Next time they're in Toronto, I'll bet they'll play somewhere like Kool Haus, or Sound Academy, and you won't see my ugly mug in the crowd. Good for them.