Friday, October 9, 2009

Japandroids - Live Review

When you see a group of twenty-somethings walking around together in hoodies and hearing aids, it’s a tip off. They probably spent the night watching Japandroids’ brand of vicious, loud garage rock. Amps bigger than human bodies took up more of the majority of the stage, backing Vancouver’s tightest new rock band.

Though Japandroids only has two members – guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse – it still blew the crowd away with a raw, unrelentless energy. Prowse was the Energizer bunny, and King had no trouble keeping up. The two musicians move like one well-oiled machine, intimately sensitive to each other's every move. With a small nod from King, Prowse picked up his sticks, moving between time signatures with ease.

A seamless transition between “Crazy/Forever” and “Sovereignty” showed the crowd that the pair could bring their debut album, Post-Nothing, to life with the same sense of immediacy as the recording. As King spastically whipped his head around and ripped away on his bright red guitar, it took serious control keep from convulsively jerking your own body back and forth.

The band played a majority of the songs off Post-Nothing, including crowd favorites “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Heart Sweats,” a propulsive song about a girl whose “heart is cold as ice… I should know I’ve been to the North Pole.” But King explained a few songs into the set that they were incorporating new songs to keep the show interesting. “Don’t worry,” he assured the crowd, “our lyrics are really fucking easy. You can sing along after 30 seconds.”

Japandroids are smart, despite vapid lyrics and the occasional shallow desire. They combine melodic, movable guitar lines with heavy drums full of cymbals and sudden blasts. The vocals always repeat, not only the same words, but the same notes. Read as: great for shouting along, even if you can't sing. And boy did the crowd shout.

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