Danko Jones is a 6 out of 10 at best. At least that’s what the frontman of the Canadian trio tried to make Vancouverites believe on April 18th, 2015. Hundreds of rock lovers invaded Venue on Granville to catch the Toronto rock band and their openers warm up the venue before it reverted to its natural Saturday night function as a nightclub. Because Venue often pulls double duty, hosting shows in the evening and their regular clubbing patrons later on during the night, the show was scheduled quite early with doors opening at 7:00 and the first and only opening act starting their set just after 8pm.
As I was making my way to the venue, I was wondering what kind of crowd was going to be present. I’m usually at Venue for near sold out metal shows that go on so late they make me miss the last train home. I found myself asking my show buddy what kind of people crawl out of their houses before sundown on Saturday night. The answer is hordes of Danko Jones fans, apparently. I arrived relatively early to the show, approximately 30 minutes after the doors opened. There was already a fair crowd amassed on the main floor, as well as a few dozen people up in the mezzanine. Hugs were exchanged by some, drinks were had by most, laughs and good conversations were shared by all and sooner rather than later, the already low lights in the room were dimmed to make room for the opening band.
The Lazys climbed on stage and launched an impressive set. The quintet sounds like the love child of Wolfmother and Billy Talent, and while normally that is a mix I would much rather kill with fire than listen to for longer than thirty seconds, The Lazys pull it off fantastically. The music was heavy without being overwhelming and their stage presence was just the right amount of entertaining. Leon Harrison, the man at the helm of the musical ship, sounds like and has mannerisms similar to Billy Talent’s frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz, and walked around the stage like he owned the place. The charisma of the long haired singer is undeniable and he made it incredibly hard to stop looking at him, that is until the lead guitar player found his footing and started flinging his gigantic hair around while playing guitar like he sold his soul to the devil for his skills. The Slash lookalike played guitar behind his head and even climbed on top of the booths in the middle of the venue to play a well-lit solo under the amused eyes of the entire audience. It’s hard to say what my favourite thing about The Lazys’ performance was. It could be the screechy yet oddly melodic vocals of the singer, the precise fingering of their talented guitar players, the catchy songs, the sheer energy of all five musicians or the fact that one of their guitarists looks like Jon Snow. In short, the quintet was absolutely magnificent.
My love affair with Danko Jones is an old one. I saw them opening for Nickelback and Live in 2006 when I wasn’t even old enough to drink legally, and have been hooked since. I was frenzied when the trio took centre stage to dazzle the hundreds of fans in attendance. They started their hour and a half long set mercilessly with “Who Got It?”, followed by the suggestive “Sugar Chocolate”, to which the show-goers started dancing with the same eagerness as the kids at the end of Footloose. The Canadian band always knows how to entertain their audience. Their set list was beautifully tailored to play some of their best songs including “First Date”, “Forget My Name”, “Legs”, “Sugar High”, “Bounce”, and “Lovercall”, as well as “Gonna Be A Fight Tonight” from the band’s latest album, Fire Music.
On top of a stellar set list above reproach, the Canadian singer who gave his name to his band, seasoned his troop’s performance with social commentary on a variety of subjects including the outrageous price of real estate in Vancouver, how shitty Toronto is (his words, not mine), bands that break up and get back together at the drop of a hat, and more. The performance of the band was electric, the atmosphere second to none and the trio rocked Venue like it had never been rocked before. “Danko Jones is a 6 out of 10 at best,” Danko said. As my show partner and I walked out of Venue to grab some post-show grub, we both agreed: Neither of us had ever been so happy to have been lied to. Danko Jones is a 10 out of 10, no doubt about it.
Written and Photographed by Kai Robidas