By Janet Athanasiou
On their most recent tour through the United States, Japandroids made a stop at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia on October 28. Touring with Cloud Nothings, the rock duo played a loud, rocking set to a small, but enthusiastic crowd.
When I first heard Japandroids play I was surprised to find out they were a two-piece band. Power chords and banging drums always made me think there were a few more people on the stage! During live shows David Prowse’s drum kit is set up at the front of the stage so that he’s performing next to Brian King’s guitar; a wall of amps sit behind the two.
Opening the set with Near to the Wild Heart of Life, the band played energetically to a small crowd of about 500 people. While standing in line at the merch table I did hear someone ask how to pronounce Japandroids, but overall the crowd in attendance was an enthusiastic group, full of fist pumps and odd dance moves – the guy in front of me was doing his best Elaine Benes.
Since the stop in Charlottesville was part of the Near to the Wild Heart of Life tour, the band played a lot of songs from their latest album, from opening with the title track to including North East South West, Midnight to Morning, No Known Drink or Drug, True Love and a Free Life of Free Will, and I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner). Interspersed with the new material was Younger Us, a song Japandroids dedicated to the fans that were also in attendance when they played the Jefferson Theater a few years ago, Fire’s Highway and Wet Hair.
The closed out the set playing some favourites from Celebration Rock: Continuous Thunder, the Nights of Wine and Roses, and they finished up the night first by reminding everyone who they are, thanking the fans for coming, and giving a shout out to everyone who showed up in Halloween costume before playing their last song; a raucous rendition of The House that Heaven Built.
There was no encore, Japandroids ended the show after they announced the last song, but fans left the venue happy; having heard both the new songs and some of the older favourites. Japandroids are a loud, rocking duo and the left it all on the Charlottesville stage Saturday night.