Japanther / Death From Above Rockit Club, Toronto ON - September 13, 2003

Japanther / Death From Above Rockit Club, Toronto ON - September 13, 2003
Photo: Chris Smith
A fat breath of fresh air came in the form of this double-date between Toronto's gutsy Death From Above and Brooklyn's anti-patriotic Japanther. The Death From Above boys brought out their straightforward libido rock and drove it all in the same direction with a super-tight seamlessness. With just two boys, a drum kit and a bass guitar, multitasking is a necessary sport for drummer/singer Sebastien Grainger, whose balance helps the duo work up their firmly brimming noisiness. A personalised tribute about "sexual intercourse" was dedicated to Johnny Cash and John Ritter. A profuse "thank you" to Canada, as expressed by Japanther's Ian Vanek through the less-than-common telephone-topped microphone, was followed by a quick launch into a not bratty rant that repeated "Fuck the president of the United States" in his characteristic deadpan. The fast weirdo punk that chased afterward injected listeners with that impossible to find bit of arty originality — MPC beats, samples and guitar, with drunken happy-go-lucky vocals stretching over perfect subject matter. At times, the lyrics were darkly funny, as on the ode to parents everywhere "Please Don't Get a Divorce," and at others charmingly and invigoratingly affirmative, as in the confident motto/song "Do What You Feel." This was crafty, fun rock devoid of pretension that obviously relies on the team's resourcefulness and passion for playing as a band and as people — an affecting act to take in. Heavy distortion on fuzzy, high-pitched bass, lo-fi vocal inventiveness and tactful double-kicks made for a successful set of DIY hardcore positivity with surprisingly poppy moments. Their "do what you feel" aphorism found itself in practice when the demanded encore saw a simple repeat of the first two songs that worked and pleased giddy fans endlessly.