Vancouver-based Japandroids shocked a sold-out crowd at the Phoenix in Toronto in mid-December. The duo, coming off their success with their latest album Celebration Rock, have been on tour for quite some time and have been everywhere – even including some shows in Europe, Japan, and Asia. The band formed in 2006, but only recently became to grow in popularity thanks to their first studio album, Post-Nothing, released in 2009.
Like many two-piece rock bands, the Japandroids are extremely loud and hard to even tell that there are only two members. The band consists of Brian King on guitar, and Dave Prowse on drums. Both members sing at different points on stage, however Brian is the primary singer, with Dave providing backup vocals.
The Japandroids have a distinct sound that’s a mix between music that makes you want to push other people and music that makes you want to sing along. This combination creates for a surreal live experience. A couple songs into the set, Brian called out to the audience, inviting them on stage, one at a time, to crowd surf. It’s a weird way to engage the audience and certainly different from anything I’ve seen bands do, but regardless it worked out well and the audience (including me) responded positively.
It was also nice to see that fans weren’t just excited to hear their singles, such as ‘The House that Heaven Built’, but would sing along and jump along to their lesser-known songs, such as ‘Fire’s Highway’. However, that isn’t to say that the performances of the singles weren’t enjoyable. One of my favourite songs that the duo performed was ‘The House that Heaven Built’, which may have been partly because of the increased amount of fans jumping on stage and crowd surfing.
Brian and Dave seem like two best friends who genuinely love making music together and, even meeting the two afterwards, they’re extremely nice and humble people, which is nice to see and know that their stage energy and presence isn’t an act.
The Japandroids show was truly one of the most fun and entertaining concerts I’ve been to, and if they ever play remotely close to you, I highly recommend you check them out, especially because they won’t be playing small venues for $20 for much longer. Their album Celebration Rock is available now.