Japandroids at Royale, 02.20.17
w/ Craig Finn & the Uptown Controllers
This show was the first of 2017 and the first up in Boston in quite a while! Japandroids are actually not a band that I was too familiar with before the show, but the invite came to me from a friend probably a good four months in advance so I had plenty of time to do some listening before driving up to Boston. At first listen, they are a fast-paced, angsty rock/punk band (actually, duo), somewhat reminiscent of an early 2000s punk band, like Taking Back Sunday. The band is actually only two guys - Brian King (guitar, vocals) and David Prowse (drums, vocals) - hailing from Vancouver, and have been dropping albums every couple of years since 2009 [Post-Nothing (2009), Celebration Rock (2012), Near to the Wild Heart of Life (2017)]. This show was pretty big news for die-hard fans, since it had been a 5 year drought.
The venue Royale is huge! It has 2 levels with a wrap-around second balcony that has a lot of couches and tables - which means there are also a lot of viewing points. The venue doubles as a club on non-concert days. We got a good spot on the floor; however, quickly realized that we were standing right in front of one of the speakers - so after a song and a half of being blasted by pure vocals, we ended up moving back.
Unfortunately, I can't re-create the set-list because Japandroids are one of those bands that don't really enunciate their words. [Check out setlist.fm if you're just dying to know!] But if you're into heavy, distorted guitar lines and drums (after all, it's just the two of them), then this is the band for you! I can tell you that they played the title track "Near To The Wild Heart of Life", "North East South West", and "No Known Drink or Drug", which is a high-energy, angsty anthem. The crowd was definitely into the set - there was some stage diving and circle moshing going on!
All in all, this show was a fun one. The band was definitely high energy and probably more fun if you were a dedicated long-time fan, but still fun for a casual Monday night show! Would definitely like to go see another show at this Boston venue as well.