After their junior album, Celebration Rock garnered ‘Best New Music’ titles from all the top music critics, Japandroids subsequent tour was little more than a cross-continental victory lap. Returning from the Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris, Japandroids have put out quality albums and have grown into a comfortable stage presence. The Canadian duo composed of Brian King on guitar and David Prowse on drums stands to prove that the smaller the band, the harder they rock.
The band’s stage rider had drummer Prowse off to the side, facing away from the doors at Crowbar. A strong drummer, all he needed was his own corner to make beats. Leaving most of the stage to lead vocalist and guitarist Brian King proved to be a smart idea. King’s active stage presence made good use of the Crowbar’s stage.
The high energy performance started aptly with “Adrenaline Nightshift” and continued to peruse other tracks from Celebration Rock including “Fire’s Highway”. While the band’s most recent record featured an air-y garage rock sound and minimalist lyrics, there was a noticeable dichotomy between the live performance of the new music and their older punk tracks.
Japandroids has been together since 2008, experimenting with different sounds and other band members. However, the bulk of the band’s music and success has come from the original members Prowse and King. During the performance, King mentioned that the band usually opens with “The Boys are Leaving Town”, an excited and simplistic track about the band going on tour.
Japandroids had a commanding stage presence, and attracted the biggest crowd Crowbar has seen in quite some time. Their full set included music from across their albums and EPs, as well as a host of eclectic covers. The band covered Welsh post-hardcore band McLusky’s “To Hell With Good Intentions”. However, King’s tall stature, shaggy hair and garage rock guitar licks were reminiscent of Jack White, singing out “my love is bigger than your love.”
Further enticing the audience, Japandroids teased with abbreviated covers of ACDC’s “Back in Black” and Green Day’s “Brainstew.” But the references didn’t stop there. As a winded King paused between songs, he quoted indie greats The Hold Steady’s “Slapped Actress”, saying to the crowd, “Don’t tell them we went down to Ybor City again.”
Between the large, excited crowd, Japandroids' growing catalogue of original music and covers and their commanding stage presence, one thing became certain. This is sure to be Japandroids last tour in which they play medium-sized clubs. Or at least it should be.