Live Review + Videos: Japandroids + Bass Drum of Death
Ah, the awkward “we’ve played the shit out of our debut record but we are doing one last tour, but in the meantime we are going to fill our set half full with songs you have never heard” timeframe that every concertgoer loves. Vancouver, BC fuzz-pop duo Japandroids entered this dangerous territory Monday night for their show at the 7th Street Entry, but seemed to leave no worse for the wear. Playing songs from their debut LP (Post-Nothing), an assorted cast of misfit singles/7″‘s and about 7-8 new songs, the group showed again why they are such a great live band and even had the skills to jolt awake a pretty mellow Monday night crowd in Minneapolis.
The new songs, which frontman Brian King apologized for playing repeatedly, even at one point saying “I know I hate hearing new songs when I just want to hear the songs I can sing along to,” sounded like less fleshed out, more restrained versions of the great material on Post-Nothing. The duo, also featuring drummer David Prowse, could probably turn John Denver covers into ear splitting, fist pumping anthems, but even armed with material most, if not all, of the crowd had never heard, the energy and enthusiasm from the duo really got the crowd going. Old favorites like “Wet Hair” and “Younger Us” did a good job of easing the crowd into jumping around, as King had asked, and the energy seemed to build with each subsequent song. While it takes a pretty great live band to overcome playing material the crowd has not heard (especially when you have about a dozen songs in your pocket they are dying to hear), Japandroids proved again why they are one of my favorite live bands and an amazing force, especially considering it only is the two of them.
Opening the show were Mississippi three piece Bass Drum of Death, a band I knew very little about coming into the show. If my first impression was “these guys loved the early 90’s” based solely on their tattered clothes and long hair, their music did little to alter my opinion. Sounding like a Southern fried, classic rock version of earlier 90’s luminaries, the band tore through a high energy, heavy as mud set, utilizing their duel guitar and drum setup to make maximum noise with their minimal setup. They veered from hazy drone pop a la Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr to a more bluesy, garage based sound, especially on the title track to their new album GB City. Utilizing a sound that can be worn into the ground pretty quickly, Bass Drum of Death did a great job of getting right to the point, playing a loose, blistering set that definitely had me wanting to check out the band some more.