Japandroids at 7th St. Entry, 9/26/11

Categories: Last Night

Photos by Erik Hess
September 26, 2011
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis

After a long, heartfelt monologue by vocalist/guitarist Brian King, given as drummer/vocalist David Prowse worked out a few last kinks and touching on the respect he had for opening band Bass Drum Of Death, the amazing time he had over the past five weeks of touring (Monday's show at the Entry was the last of the tour) and a few other odds and ends, Japandroids began their set and King's microphone promptly died. "Are we going to start with technical difficulties? I just gave a speech!" King joked as the problem was resolved.

The bulk of the set consisted of songs from their yet-to-be-recorded follow-up to 2009's Post-Nothing, that can easily be described as a caustic, sonic beatdown in a trash strewn dark alley. They are following the indie rock leitmotif of two people, two instruments and causing a ruckus but as they are both male in this particular case, the results are a little different than the White Stripes or the Kills. These songs are brimming with testosterone and--not to sound misogynistic--a woman's touch would absolutely ruin them. There was an intensity present in every song, that was uniquely male. King and Prowse seemed to be pushing each other in a way that was almost competitive--"Who's going to blow this crowd away faster?"

After playing seven or eight songs from what is to become the new record (there's no name for it just yet) they started in with "Heart Sweats" from Post-Nothing, immediately illuminating something that hadn't been clear during the first part of the set. The new songs were different--much different--from the songs on their debut record. For two guys that seem to be making what amounts to a lot of catchy racket, they're apparently thinking an awful lot about what, exactly, that racket might become. It's not fair to call the new songs mellower, but they're structured differently: a little more airy, fewer notes crammed into tight spaces, even slightly shiny. But they're unmistakably Japandroids songs, crunchy, acidic guitar riffs, thunderous drum beats, the same in-your-face vocals delivered with a fevered immediacy. There is another level King and Prowse have found in which to deliver cathartic, punishing four minute bursts of tangled, catchy noise, and Monday night everyone was lucky enough to see it from the ground floor.

Photos by Erik Hess
Critic's Bias: I have a hard time identifying specific Japandroids songs, which always kind of annoyed me, but Monday I realized they are better taken in a whole--Japandroids are not a singles-type band in any way.
The Crowd: Extraordinarily rowdy and full of hecklers, which was even stranger than it sounds.
Overheard In The Crowd: Guy: "I love guys!" Several people in unison (including his female companion and Brian King): "WHAT?"
Random Notebook Dump: They played so hard that asking for an encore would just be cruel.

Photos by Erik Hess

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