Imagine the scene in a coming-of-age teen movie in which the main characters experience their first rock-and-roll catharsis in a packed nightclub. The kids are euphoric — high-fiving, fist-pumping, shouting along, dripping in sweat. The band is similarly drenched, the frontman earnestly singing in well-worn cliches about tonight being the most important night of your life. The scene is a montage; it lasts about 90 seconds, accounting for only the most anthemic portion of the song.
Now imagine those 90 seconds repeated for almost 90 minutes, and that’s a fair approximation of Japandroids’ sold-out Saturday night show at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Can catharsis be sustained for that long? Japandroids, the Vancouver guitar-drums duo whose album “Celebration Rock” is one of the most celebrated rock albums of the year, made a game effort. But with every next song doubling as a shout to the heavens, complete with titles (“Fire’s Highway,” “Adrenaline Nightshift”), it started to feel less galvanizing and more gimmicky.