Concert Review: Japandroids Night Two at the 9:30 Club

The Vancouver duo brought raw energy on a rainy DC night

For Canadian rockers Japandroids, D.C. and the 9:30 Club have a special place in their heart. Guitarist and lead vocalist Brian King dedicated the duo’s final song of the night, and biggest hit, “The House that Heaven Built,” to the venue’s crew, who he said had been tremendous over the band’s 48-hour soldout stay on Feb. 27 and 28.

The band kicked off with the lead single from their latest album “Near to the WIld Heart of Life,” adding a level of edge and energy that their live shows are notorious for. Aided by an impressive array of lights, King and drummer David Prowse ripped through songs from their catalog with a captivating display of synchronicity and passion.

While the band members gave it nearly all they had, outside of a core group of fans toward the front of the stage, the crowd of largely middle-aged bearded men was lackluster. Only toward the end of the set, when the band played hits such as “The Nights of Wine and Roses,” did a majority of the crowd get into the full spirit of the show.

A clear thematic thread of self-discovery through women, booze and traveling, aided by a somewhat newfound outlook on the band’s most recent songs, made it easy to root for the duo as they conveyed a new, partially untamed sense of maturity.

Japandroids, like other rock duo contemporaries The Black Keys and Death from Above 1979, can struggle live as the combination of electric guitar and drums can only create so much sonic diversity. However, the singalong nature of so many of the bands “woah!” or “oh!” choruses, combined with the raw talent and charisma of both drummer and guitarist, kept the audience engaged emotionally at the very least.

King and Prowse may not be at the forefront of traditional rock music yet, but their exuberance for the genre, growing fan base and storytelling ability will keep venues packed for some time to come.

growell@theeagleonline.com

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