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Japandroids - Shame
Jul 15, 2009
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1 times
Why do we like this?
I like big concerts as much as anyone else, but there's something special about seeing a band play in a cramped, sweaty room. It has nothing to do with the sound quality, comfort, or musicianship- it's all about the atmosphere and the overall experience of being a part of something so intimate. You can really feel the energy radiate between the crowd and the band when you're all packed together.

There were two concerts I was looking forward to seeing last week: one was the Sonic Youth show I helped webcast for NPR's All Songs Considered last Tuesday, and the other was the Japandroids show last Wednesday, which was not showcased. Sonic Youth was probably the show I was looking forward to most all summer. I've been a fan for a while, both for their innovative guitar work and their overall impact on alternative music.

Logically, I should have liked the Sonic Youth show better. They played at the 930 club (arguably DC's best concert venue), they have tons of great material to play, and their 25 years of experience really demonstrates itself onstage. I loved the Japandroids' new album, Post Nothing, but they have a hard time matching up to Sonic Youth on paper: they're a two-piece band that have only been around for three years, have never toured outside of Canada, and played at DC9, a venue that can hold maybe 100 people (and you can hardly see the stage unless you're right up front).

Paper be damned though, I had way more fun at the Japandroids show. Sonic Youth was far from bad - they didn't play 3 or 4 of the songs I was really hoping to hear, but it was still an excellent performance.

Japandroids, on the other hand, played as much a part of this experience as the venue or the people there though. It's really refreshing to see a band play with so much spirit and energy without taking themselves so seriously.Aand the music absolutely rocked- pure cathartic angst wrapped in playful sweetness with everything cranked to 11. They played like two guys just having a blast at a house party with all of their friends. At one point, they gave a guy in the front row money to buy them a beer, then dedicated the song to him ("Young Hearts Park Fire," the highlight of the night). Then Brian King (guitar/vocals) dedicated a "heavy jam to the guys," and encouraged guys to throw their shirts at drummer David Prowse. Someone actually did throw a shirt, which landed on Prowse's drum set. Prowse stopped playing and said "aw come on, man. Not the hi-hat," and they just laughed it off and continued playing.

Great music can pretty much translate anywhere, but there's nothing like the experience of hearing a show in a room that's small enough for you to touch the band.
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