Japanther at Burro Bar

by FAITH BENNETT
For whatever reason, Japanther’s appearance at Burro Bar will only be five dollars–a price suited for a punk house show, and it may feel like one anyway, in a good way. The mostly punk band who recently released their latest full length, Eat Like Lisa, Act Like Bart, will be performing with Jacksonville’s Tough Junkie, Glitterpiss and Ascetic. Ian Vanek of Japanther was able to talk to EU about the upcoming performance.
“We like to keep it open ended,” Vanek says, describing their art-project-turned-band. Having performed in more innovative ways than most in similar situations, they veer into the realm of performance art. This is fitting given their start. Vanek and Matt Reilly began their 12-year artistic partnership at New York’s respected Pratt Institute. “Pratt is like a great school of writing.” He says that Pratt allowed him and Reilly to heavily experience the culture of another type of music than their own: “There was so much hip-hop going on all the time, and we were still two kids who were really interested in rock and roll and punk…It was a very hip-hop place at that time. Now I think it’s a little more punk, but things change.”
If you want to know what to expect of the new album, then maybe just imagine a cleaner more melodic continuation of 2011’s Beets, Limes, and Rice. It’s every bit as easy to listen to despite being characteristic of noise rock in 2013. When it comes to their live show though, audiences may need to anticipate a little more ruckus. Ranek says to expect a lot of sampling, a lot of dancing, and perhaps crowd surfing. They are known for their stage antics, less to the extent of theatrically baroque bands like Of Montreal or Gogol Bordello, but rather in a more classic punk fashion. Ranek says their performance aesthetic even carries a vaudevillian aspect.”It changes from city to city but expect a very high energy show…punk aspects with hip hop connotations.”
On the concept of the art piece of a band Ranek admits, “I know it sounds a little pompous to other people, but it’s just an idea for us to stay interested and stay excited about what we’re doing and the manner that we’re doing it. We definitely have learned how to talk about our process and our art-making process and people and friendships. You’re allowed to have so many new experiences and travel and learn so much about what different artists are going through. Like artists in California are going through and artists in Florida and artists in New York and all three of those things together…you learn a great deal through travel and friendship and performing music, which like I said is at a place where you’re very transparent.” The energy of performance is a huge pay-off Ranek. “When you’re making music, and you’re dancing, you’re at your most human and beautiful.” That said, Sunday should be pretty beautiful.

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