w/Mando Diao, the Comas
Thurs May 5, Crocodile, 9 pm, $10.
It's an age-old showbiz maxim: Go where the work is. "Where" has been Europe for Canadian power trio Danko Jones. They're veritable stars on the Euro-rock circuit, and even bigger in their native land, where they've been Much Music/Fuse mainstays since they started rocking hometown stages in Toronto some 10 years ago.
Another maxim: They're big in Europe. That one is becoming much less of a jokey putdown. Like other foreign live-show- centric rockers (Hellacopters, Turbonegro, The (International) Noise Conspiracy), once America didn't bite, Danko Jones gravitated toward the love and didn't look back.
They exploded out of the gate with a fully formed sound (AC/DC lockstep meets Thin Lizzy cheesy soul rock and ass-slapped by punk peeve) and look (slick black suits). And they were fronted by a feather-hat-topped, Hendrix-licked, handsome charmer. So it was confounding that most labels passed on the band during their initial run. A step back, a toning down of the dress-up, and then a full dive into touring the UK and Europe with more gusto than a Luftwaffe mission has held sway for four years solid.
Singer-namesake Danko Jones himself has donned many hats: standup comedian, painter, extra in some Danish soft-core porn flicks even. But this band is his life now, and the title and sound of their latest and first U.S. release, We Sweat Blood (Razor and Tie), cements it. To the uninitiated, it will seem like some swishy Rollins Band material. It does pale a bit to the debut, Born a Lion (Bad Taste Records/Universal), and in fact it reprises the best song from that record, "Lovercall." But overall the new one is heavier for the border metal crowd to which this'll get pushed.
Their live show is as solid as ever, seething with road-tested tightness and Danko's hilarious between-song tales of evil women and the men who love them. Perhaps too cheeky with the winks for those who like their hard rock perfectly erect, Danko Jones may be just right for us irony-loving Yanks. The group will surely find out on this, their first full U.S. tour.