Danko Jones / Tokyo Dragons
12 February 2008
Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London

The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen represented a new venue on Rockers Digest’s map and an interesting choice for tonight’s one off show. With Danko Jones’ new album, Never Too Loud not due out until the end of the month, the Canadians were heading out on just three European dates: London, Stockholm (technical at sea, since the gig’s on a boat) and Cologne, prior to the proper European tour kicking off in April. Tonight’s venue was therefore an intimate, albeit rather squashed setting, with Danko inviting his friends Tokyo Dragons to open proceedings.

The Tokyo Dragons are heading out on their own headlining tour next month, including a hometown show at the (bigger than this venue) Camden Underworld on the 29th. This show therefore also served as a warm up opportunity for the Dragons, not that they seemed to need it as they raced through their opening three numbers without a pause for breath. At the conclusion of a storming Keeping The Wolf From The Door, frontman Steve Lomax asked “Are you ready to rock tonight?”, when in truth the Dragons faithful down the front already were.

Plying a greasy rock’n’roll, not unlike The Hellacopters, a couple of the Dragons could actually be mistaken for the Swedes, though I was initially confused by Lomax who didn’t resemble photos I’d seen due to his now much shorter hair. Like those Swedes, the Dragons occasionally break off into Kiss style twin guitar melodies, as seen in Teenage Screamers, during which fellow guitarist Mal Bruk pulled shapes. On the other side of the stage, Mathias Stady kept a cool watch on proceedings, with low slung bass, baseball hat and general greasy mechanic look.

The Motörhead-like fury of On Fuel took us to the climax of Rockin’ The Stew, complete with an extended jam section. This was my first experience of the Tokyo Dragons and left positive views.

Tokyo Dragons set list:
? / ? / Keeping The Wolf From The Door / Teenage Screamers / What The Hell / Get ‘Em Off / Ramblin’ Jack / Rock My Boat / On Fuel / Rockin’ The Stew

As noted, this was an intimate show for Danko Jones, so much so that the band had to trek through the packed crowd at the front to get onto the stage. Not only was this crowd packed, but it was moving, as Code Of The Road kicked things off. This track was from Danko’s soon to be released album Never Too Loud, and has been available as a download preview on his site, hence the familiarity on the crowd. As a result of the good natured argy-bargy, taking notes became impossible and I glanced across to see a surfer planting his foot on Johan’s head as he fought to get photos.

Personal favourite Play The Blues was up next, as was someone’s pint in the melee. Much like the Tokyo Dragons, Danko Jones opening was a no nonsense head’s down barrage of songs, continuing with Sticky Situation, which ironically my head now appeared to be in thanks to the beer spillage!

Before introducing new song, King Of Magazines, Danko finally greeted us with a “Hello London!” Danko explained they wanted to do the first show of the Never Too Loud tour here as, “When you guys open your mouth, the whole world listens.” Generally the listening is to Danko at his shows, which at times are part stand-up comedy. Tonight he seemed to be up against the clock and therefore there was more rocking, than Danko’s trademark “truthin’”. However, he didn’t disappoint with a preacher like rant on people saying rock’n’roll is dead, asking us repeatedly, “And where do you stand about that?”

When a chant of “J.C.” broke out in reference to bassist John Calabrese, Danko took a moment out to introduce his hard working band, completed by drummer Dan Cornelius. Then cheekily noted, “The next song is about ME!”, before Mango Kid, which he played with a pair of black panties balanced on the end of his guitar.

Selections from the new album were welcomed by the crowd and bode well for its release, though it was the familiar favourites like She’s Drugs and Invisible that incited movement. The latter was dedicated to the Tokyo Dragons, who Danko proclaimed, “The best band in England.”

Lovercall saw more crowd surfing and when one landed on the stage, Danko had to comically remind the invader, “This is my show!” As usual, it was the ascent of The Mountain that brought the set to a close, and with the 11 o’ clock curfew past, a very short, but forceful repeat of the closing line “This heart gets stronger, this skin gets thicker, this mouth gets louder!”.

Danko Jones set list:
Code Of The Road / Play The Blues / Sticky Situation / King Of Magazines / Baby Hates Me / First Date / Way To My Heart / Mango Kid / She’s Drugs / Still In High School / Sugar High / Invisible / Never Too Loud / Lovercall / Mountain

Danko Jones
Tokyo Dragons