This year has been quite a stellar year for Vancouver band Japandroids. Early this summer, they released the acclaimed record Celebration Rock, 35 minutes of unabashed youthful joy. It was an easy record to fall in love with and blast out of car windows. But whatever energy Japandoids albums put forth is completely outdone by their insane energy on stage. Japandroids already stopped by Seattle in June right after the release of their record, but this week, they came back with rising indie rock act Bleached for a victory lap. And even for those who saw their June show with Cadence Weapon, Japandroids shows should never, under any circumstances, be passed up. Don’t believe us? Check out these pictures.
Opening up the night was a solid set by LA sister band Bleached. The band uses punk tendencies and finds a happy medium between the indie surf rock of Best Coast and Wavves and the shoegaze revival of Tamaryn and Dum Dum Girls. The result is cozy sound that you can still rock out to. Bleached no doubt had first time listeners hitched within a few songs. Attempted mosh pits were only really foiled by the crowd’s desire to save energy for the chaos Japandroids would create. Regardless of the number of elbows thrown during their set, Bleached killed it, rocking out newer singles like “Think of You,” “You Take Time,” and others. We hope to see an LP from these girls soon.
After Japandroids finished setting up their own gear, they exited for a moment - presumably for Brian to get his hair wet and the two to grab drinks. As they reentered, Brian walked to the mic and waited for the cheers to die down. “This is the closest to home we’ve been in quite a while” Brian said, “but tomorrow, we head down the coast. This is the closest to Vancouver we’ll get. But it’s great to be back in the Pacific Northwest again.” Obviously, the crowd went totally nuts. Brian started in on a tune and then stopped again. “But here’s the thing, guys. We played here a couple months ago and it took a couple songs for everyone to get crazy. This time, can we just get crazy right off the bat?” Subsequently, more cheering followed as Brian and David started into an instrumental introduction. As the energy level in the room increased to ridiculous levels, Brian laid down the intro to “Adrenaline Nightshift” and thinks went berserk. As Brian and David threw down on stage, the front five rows of people had turned into one massive surging wave, half mosh pit, half dance party. Every push and shove was followed by a ridiculous smile and more shouting. And as friendly punches were thrown and feet were crushed, all that could be heard were earsplitting voices all yelling “There’s no high like this.” Amongst the sweat and (for some) the blood and the pure adrenaline, there was nothing in the room but happiness.
Much of the time, the show is made by the setlist. But with Japandroids, the set itself isn’t the game-changer. Nearly all Japandroids tunes are 100% energy and ridiculously fun to sing at the top of your lungs, so nothing there poses any potential conflict. Rather, it’s the crowd that makes or breaks things, and in Seattle, there were no problems to be had there either. After the screams die down from first song, Brian smiles. “And with that disappears our set list.” For the rest of their huge set, Japandroids were all over the place, touching a lot of underplayed material from their first two EPs (collected on No Singles) and plenty Post-Nothing material, as well as Celebration Rock in its entirety. Unsurprisingly, nothing to complain about whatsoever.