Freebutt, 22 February 2010
Japandroids describe themselves as “a two piece band trying to sound like a five piece band.” Rather than merely attempting to sound like they have a fuller line up they achieve something else. They create their own unique emotive sound, which packs more of punch than many five pieces. Whilst they share vocal duties Brian King thrashes guitar and Dave Prowse bangs drums.
Things kick off with “No Allegiance To The Queen” off their 2008 EP Lullaby Death Jams. The opening lyric “we need air” seemed appropriate to the packed out venue. This is followed by the anthem “The Boys are Leaving Town”. Drummer Dave takes the lead vocals on the next song, “Rockers East Vancouver”. Then the crowd really got going to the punchy drums of “Heart Sweats”.
Front man Brian has an impressive stage presence. The energy he puts into the performance is complemented by Dave’s tight but hectic drumming. The whole thing is kept together by their shouting hardcore- style call and response and combined vocal power.
They played more highlights from their first long player Post-Nothing along with new single “Art Czars”. After being told they only had four minutes to the curfew the gig climaxed in “Young Hearts Spark Fire.” This song is unforgettable, with lyrics that will run through your head like the progression of the flowing guitar phrases. There is something nostalgic in the music, it’s evocative of the angst of a not too distance past.
With an audience full of genuine fans, who knew all the words, one could not help but be immersed in the rolling garage riffs. The lyrics are at times immature but all the more glorious for being so unashamedly self-indulgent. Japandroids refuse to grow up and in doing so write the sound track for the emotional retarded in the midst of a quarter life crisis. They call it “post-teenage angst”. The band has to be heard live to get the full emotional slap of their noisy pop. They return to Brighton in May for the Great Escape. Don’t Sleep.
Words by Frederick Fox