Live Review
JAPANTHER AT TUFNELL PARK DOME
Japanther
The Dome
Tufnell Park, London
11/02/11

“Life is fucking everything, so have a party!” yells Matt Reilly from beneath a mountain of curls – that are as frazzled as the riffs emanating from his bass – into his yellow telephone that’s wedged into a mic stand. Together with drummer and singer Ian Vanek, this New York duo aren’t exactly what you’d call conventional when it comes to performing live.

So far are they from ‘normal’, in fact, that they cut in random sound bytes and hip hop shorts between songs, and Vanek plays naked, save for his sweat-drenched pants – something he regularly urges the audience to do too. As they run through the surprisingly mellow and incomparably catchy pop tones of ‘She’s the One’ and ‘Surfin’ Coffin’, the audience proceed to party surreally harder than the tracks sound and gradually invade the sides of the stage until the closing notes of a cover of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ alongside Blink 182’s ‘Josie’. It’s a stark contrast to their clear recordings, but their high-speed, fuzzed-up attitude on stage is a garage rocker’s wet dream, and even when The Beach Boys begin to tunnel through the speakers signalling the end, you can’t wake these happy punks into leaving.

By DK Goldstein

Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011