Japandroids: Massey Fucking Hall (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

Massey Fucking Hall


Jul 14, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

2020 has been a strange year for concerts. A global pandemic has brought the entire live touring industry to a standstill. Depending on your perspective, it could be the best or the worst time for a live album from Canadian indie rockers Japandroids. Despite the unusual circumstances around its release, the band makes a strong case for why this album is necessary. With an unstoppable freight train speed, it is an excellent document of the sweaty, kinetic energy of a Japandroids live show.

Massey Fucking Hall is a live recording of the band’s performance at the legendary titular venue in Vancouver, Canada. It’s a storied stage that has hosted some of the most venerated acts in music history. For the band, performing on that stage is the zenith of a prolific live career. After tearing through “Near to the Wild Heart of Life,” the blistering opener from the band’s 2017 eponymous album, lead singer Brian King briefly says, “Wow… Massey fucking Hall,” before thanking the crowd and launching into “Fire’s Highway.” The band audibly gives blood, sweat, and tears into the performance.

For fans of Japandroids’ full-throated heartland-style rock, a live setting does little to mute the duo’s power. With the simple combination of King’s guitar and David Prowse’s drums, the band extracts a surprising amount of raucous noise and emotion. The setlist draws from each of the band’s three albums, offering a mix of fan favorites spanning across the band’s career, including early cuts such as “Heart Sweats” or “Sovereignty.”

The band easily rips through its faster punk-tinged material but brings a hoarse anthemic tone to “Continuous Thunder.” The comparisons to the heartland anthems of Americans such as Bruce Springsteen and Paul Westerberg are not lost here. Much like those artists, Japandroids’ music is best experienced live. The band feeds off the energy of the audience as the crowd shouts out the lyrics to ageless beloved songs. While the writing of the band’s studio work may not always live up to that lofty standard, King proves he can howl with the best of them in a live setting.

I think Prowse speaks for all of us when he said in a press release, “I really, really miss live shows.” The band’s love for what they do and for its fans is on full display throughout their entire performance on Massey Fucking Hall. While it surely isn’t quite as electrifying as being there yourself, in 2020, this is among the best live shows within reach. (www.japandroids.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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