UPDATE: They announced the new album!

Japandroids played their first two NYC shows in about three and a half years at Knitting Factory over the weekend, the last two US dates on their 2016 tour. Both were long sold out, and like they did at the previous shows on this tour, they played a handful of new songs. They also mentioned on stage that a new album would be coming very soon, and that we should be hearing the first single this week. (Stay tuned!) We caught the Saturday show, which had four new songs, one of which they said they were playing for the very first time.

Japandroids thanked the crowd for remembering who they were during the three years they were gone, and they seemed genuinely grateful to come back to such a warm welcome. I'd say it's pretty clear the love for Celebration Rock has only grown since its 2012 release, and that the anticipation for the new album is truly high (they're kind of the rock game Frank Ocean). The reactions to the Celebration Rock songs (which they played all eight of) were huge. Constant yelling along and bouncing around, and some stage diving too. Japandroids used to apologize for playing a slow song before "Continuous Thunder," but at Saturday's show they introduced it as a singalong (and admitted they didn't realize until this tour that it'd be a singalong). And if you're one of those people who love Celebration Rock and can't wait for a followup, those new songs sounded like they're gonna instantly please. All four of them went over really well on Saturday, and sounded exactly how you want Japandroids songs to sound, without feeling like a repeat of the past material. The recordings can't come soon enough.

As they always are, Japandroids were a killer live band on Saturday. It's just the two of them up there, but they sound louder and fuller than plenty of five-pieces. And Brian King and David Prowse truly put their all into every song. To paraphrase something Brian said on stage, they play each show as hard as they can until they can't play anymore. He said that on Saturday before what seemed like a truly unplanned encore. Japandroids don't do encores ("they're for corporate bullshit rock bands"), no other show on this tour had one, and every show ended with "For the Love of Ivy," as this show's pre-encore set did. They seemed to have actually forgotten to play "Younger Us" during their set, after promising to play all of Celebration Rock, and the crowd chanted for that song specifically until Japandroids returned to the stage. After it, just for fun (and because they said they won't be playing as many Celebration Rock songs on their TBA 2017 tour), they played "The Nights of Wine and Roses" a second time. The crowd may have actually gone harder for it that time.

Opening both NYC shows was fellow Canadian band Greys, who really were a great fit. The room was only about half full during their set, but Greys were so loud and so tight that I think they won over plenty of the rock celebrators that had showed up early.

Pictures of Saturday's show are in the gallery above. Setlists from both NYC shows and a video with two new songs from Saturday, below:

Friday Setlist (via)
Adrenaline Nightshift
Fire's Highway
No Known Drink or Drug
Midnight to Morning
Wet Hair
Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Arc of Bar
Younger Us
The Nights of Wine and Roses
Young Hearts Spark Fire
Sovereignty
Evil's Sway
Continuous Thunder
The House That Heaven Built
For the Love of Ivy

Saturday Setlist (via)
Adrenaline Nightshift
Fire's Highway
No Known Drink or Drug (new song)
Near to the Wild Heart of Life (new song)
Wet Hair
(Unknown New Song)
North East South West (new song)
The Nights of Wine and Roses
Young Hearts Spark Fire
Rockers East Vancouver
Evil's Sway
Continuous Thunder
The House That Heaven Built
For the Love of Ivy

Encore:
Younger Us
The Nights of Wine and Roses

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photos by Amanda Hatfield