If you see a group of twentysomethings walking around sporting hoodies and hearing aids, it’s a tip-off: They're probably preparing for a night of Japandroids’ vicious and loud garage-rock.
Amps bigger than human bodies took up most of Now That's Class' stage last night, when Vancouver’s tightest new rock band came to town.
Though Japandroids boast only two members — guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse — they managed to blow away the audience with their raw, unrelentless energy. Prowse was like the Energizer bunny, and King had no trouble keeping up. The two musicians move like one well-oiled machine, sensitive to one another’s every move. With a small nod from King, Prowse picked up his sticks, gliding between time-signature shifts with ease.
A seamless transition between “Crazy/Forever” and “Sovereignty” proved to the crowd that the pair could bring its debut album, Post-Nothing, to life onstage with the same bristling immediacy found on the record. As King whipped his head around and ripped away on a bright red guitar, it took some serious control to keep your own body from convulsively jerking back and forth.
The band played most of the songs from Post-Nothing, including fan faves "Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Heart Sweats,” a propulsive song about a girl whose “heart is cold as ice," as they sang. "I should know — I’ve been to the North Pole.” But King explained a few songs into the set that they were also incorporating a few 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 some vapid lyrics and shallow desire. They combine melodic, movable guitar lines with heavy drums filled with cymbals and sudden blasts. And the vocals always repeat — great for shouting along, even if you can't sing. And boy did the crowd shout last night. —Danielle Sills