Euphoric, high-energy rock
Japandroids and Bass Drum of Death prove noteworthy
Published: Monday, October 3, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
There was no theme-music when Japandroids took the stage Friday, September 23 at Schuba's Tavern. In fact, the band (mainly guitarist Brian King) spent the first five minutes talking to the crowd, something completely unusual for any concert like this -- a garage punk-rock show at a bar.
The determination of King, guitarist and vocalist, to convey his love of Chicago to the assembled crowd was only matched by the pure passion with which he led the band. Splitting vocals on songs between himself and the drummer, David Prowse, King espoused on the recording process, and repeated how sorry he was that the band played a few new songs at the opening of their set. In an age where bands seem to forget they are amongst other humans, the constant banter from the duo was refreshing, and earned them not only respect, but gratitude.
The euphoria of the band was only matched by that of part of the crowd, who's playful attempts at a mosh pit turned into just a bunch of kids jumping together in unison…for a cause more important to each individual than anyone could know.
The breakneck pace set by opening band Bass Drum of Death was the antithesis of Japandroids. Between the stories and conversation, the band would turn what normally seemed like elaborate two-minute punk ballads into six-minute jam-fests that took nothing away from the original songs.
It seemed at every moment that Prowse would begin kicking over his drum-set, only to have it explode in a cacophony of Moon-esque rock goodness, while King seemed fully ready to light his guitar on fire and wander off-stage. While this is generally frowned upon in the aftermath of The Station fire (where a concert featuring the band Great White turned into an inferno that claimed the lives of 100 and maimed a further 200), the energy was there, and it was palpable.
Japandroids were completely devoid of the pretentiousness that often mars what is left of rock n' roll. The performance showed that Chicago concerts are the most energetic, boisterous events around.