Japandroids’ Austin connection led to Canadian duo’s tour kickoff here


The itinerary for Canadian rock ’n’ roll sensation Japandroids’ first U.S. tour in almost four years includes stops at some of the biggest club-sized venues in the U.S., as well as some theaters: First Avenue in Minneapolis, the Fillmore in San Francisco, 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., the Vic in Chicago. Some of those dates sold out so fast they required a second show to be added.

So how is it that the Vancouver duo is kicking things off in Austin at the Mohawk — not on the larger outside stage, but in the much smaller indoor space?

The answer is that the sold-out Tuesday show is more like a tour warmup of sorts, scheduled to coincide with pre-tour rehearsals in Austin. Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse chose to come here because of their ties to Erick Sanger, whose company, Capital Radio Backline, is providing gear for the tour.

“I stage manage and backline tech for them, so it seemed logical to come to Austin and rehearse here,” Sanger said last week. He began working with the group when they played at Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2012.

The Mohawk was glad to oblige when the band decided they’d like to play a small-venue show during the rehearsal stretch. “They just thought it’d be cool to do a fun underplay, showcase some new material, etc.,” show promoter Graham Williams said via email. “And since it wasn’t part of the bigger tour, they wanted all the money to go to charity.” The band’s publicist recently confirmed that all proceeds from the Mohawk show will go to Planned Parenthood.

Fans not fortunate enough to get tickets to Tuesday’s show have another chance on Wednesday. Expect a capacity crowd at Waterloo Records when the band plays a free 5 p.m. in-store to promote the much-anticipated “Near to the Wild Heart of Life.” Released last month on renowned label Anti-, it’s the first new Japandroids album in nearly five years.

The tour takes them across North America in February and March (they’ll be on the West Coast during South by Southwest, so we won’t see them there), and then to Europe in April and May before festival season cranks up. Williams expects the band will return to Austin before long for a bigger show. “I’m sure they’ll be back sooner than later,” he said. Whether that’s a major club date or perhaps a slot at Sound on Sound or the Austin City Limits Music Festival remains to be seen.

In press materials for the album, King noted that he believes the new album is somewhat of a departure for Japandroids, after three records that focused on trying “to re-create the raw energy and reckless abandon of our live show in the studio.” They thought they’d realized that goal with their last record. “If ‘Celebration Rock’ was the culmination of something, then ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’ can be considered the beginning of something else,” King writes.

He also cites some interesting touchstones that helped shape the new record. King’s temporary relocations to Toronto and Mexico City, as well as a house he and Prowse rented in New Orleans for a bit, changed the duo’s work habits. Musically, he gives a nod to Brooklyn band the National, whose co-producer Peter Katis mixed “Near to the Wild Heart of Life.” Perhaps most intriguing, though, is this revelation: “Lyrically, this album was heavily influenced by both Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt, as they were the two artists that I listened to the most during the past few years, and whose sense of storytelling I tried to emulate in my own songwriting.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Music

5 wines - including reds! - to chill with this summer
5 wines - including reds! - to chill with this summer

If your red wine seems to wilt in the summer heat, give it a chill in the refrigerator or an ice bucket. Or even better, shake things up with a chilled sparkling red Lambrusco from northern Italy. This week's wines include a great example, plus a French rosé, a spicy Austrian red, a tropical Aussie chardonnay and a bargain wine from Spain. Great...
New 'Justice League' trailer, movie poster revealed at Comic-Con
New 'Justice League' trailer, movie poster revealed at Comic-Con

Superhero fans, rejoice: A new "Justice League" trailer and movie poster have been revealed at Comic-Con in San Diego. Time reported that the trailer released Saturday "hints at the appearance of a mysterious hero," possibly Superman or a Green Lantern.  The poster, which features Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)...
WATCH: Gal Gadot cheers up teary-eyed girl dressed as Wonder Woman at Comic-Con
WATCH: Gal Gadot cheers up teary-eyed girl dressed as Wonder Woman at Comic-Con

A young Wonder Woman fan has something to smile about after sharing a heartwarming moment with actress Gal Gadot at Comic-Con in San Diego. According to "Entertainment Tonight," a girl dressed as the superhero seemed to have tears in her eyes when she met Gadot during a "Justice League" autograph signing Saturday. Gadot immediately...
Webb Report: An Austin bar made a list that will make you blush
Webb Report: An Austin bar made a list that will make you blush

To be honest, a milkshake at a soda fountain sounds so much less exhausting than swiping photos of strangers into the digital void until your thumb develops acute localized arthritis. The world ain’t a sock hop anymore, though. Most dates start online, through apps or dating sites, and you’ll still have to meet up with potential paramours...
A woman takes the lead in “Doctor Who,” and that’s good news
A woman takes the lead in “Doctor Who,” and that’s good news

Change is built into the bones of “Doctor Who,” but there is change and then there is change. The 13th Doctor has been announced, and that the part — a regenerating alien played by many actors in turn since the TV show debuted in 1963 — will for the first time be taken by a woman comes not so much as a surprise as a relief....
More Stories