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March 7, 2017

Gothic Theater, Englewood, CO


A lot of bands these days that wear their hearts on their sleeves often veer dangerously near or straight into melodramatic self-pity, a natural consequence of a generation raised inside the emo-pop bubble of the Aughts. Few can balance earnestness and intensity without wallowing in whoa-is-me teen angst. Japandroids, comprising a pair of indie rockers from Vancouver, British Columbia, accomplishes that feat and their performance at the Gothic was a testament to this


Touring in support of the release of their new album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, the gentlemen of Japandroids sampled earlier work from 2009’s breakthrough Post-Nothing as well as their seminal Celebration Rock from 2012. Guitarist and lead vocalist Brian King dishes out catchy hooks and soaring melodies while obscuring the fact that the band does not technically have a bassist. Meanwhile, David Prowse hammers away on his kit, which is situated adjacent to King, rather than the typical background placement familiar to most drummers. It’s an interesting dynamic and with it, Japandroids amplifies their crunch, lulling the audience into forgetting that there are only two people creating such a loud sound. Crowd favorite “The House That Heaven Built” was the crescendo that had everyone in the Gothic on their feet.

For the finale, Craig Finn of opening act Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers (and most famously the lead singer of The Hold Steady), jumped onstage to help belt out AC/DC’s stomper “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It).” A fitting denouement to a night of earnest Canadian indie rock. Sets like these are a refreshing break from the legions of mopey mods currently inhabiting the musical landscape. Japandroids have mastered rock n roll’s lost art of exposing a softer side without actually being soft. Many of their peers should take note.

Article by: Steve Lustig

Article By: Steve Lustig

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