Concert review: Japandroids explode at Crowbar, Ybor City

Photos included.

click to enlarge Japandroids - Drunkcameraguy

A huge chunk of Tampa music scene folks came out to see garage rockers Japandroids play at the Crowbar last Wednesday night. How much of this attendance was influenced by the culture connoisseurs at Paste magazine giving "Best Song of 2012" props to the duo's aching anthem of lost love, "The House That Heaven Built," is unknown. What was abundantly clear, however, were fans amid said chunk who knew every word to all their songs and came ready to holler along to them all. [Text by Marci, photos by Chris]

Addressing the crowd for the first of many times throughout the show, guitarist Brian King admitted Tampa was the farthest they could possibly tour from their home in Vancouver, B.C., then he apologized for how long it had taken them to get to here and promised to make it up to us by playing every song we wanted to hear. They fulfilled this promise in spades, playing basically their entire catalog, plus some great covers, like Mclusky's "To Hell with Good Intentions" and the song that wrapped up the night, The Gun Club's "For The Love Of Ivy."

The Canadian duo, who are neither Japanese nor androids, blew the doors off the place as respectfully as possible, always keeping in mind the asininely low 65 dB limit placed on Ybor venues. When someone near the back of the crowd yelled "Turn it up!" Brian seemed more than happy to discuss this, too, replying that the sound wasn't as loud as they'd like it to be due to Ybor's noise regulations, and urging that we as Americans (which he stressed with a slight hint of sarcasm) use our rights as voters to elect city council members who'll raise the limit to 200 dB.

Don't get the impression this was a night full of geography and civics, though. Fists were pumped and heads were banged, to be sure. While the show may have started off a little slowly, perhaps due to the expected wall of sound being more of a good-sized fence, by the time they got to "The Nights of Wine and Roses," the crowd was in full-on mosh mode, and the band was still making way more noise than you'd expect from two guys. Another highlight for me was the super upbeat "Wet Hair," with its battle cry to run the gauntlet, go to France and French kiss some French girls. One of the great things about Japandroids is all the 'whoas!' and 'yeahs!', so that even if you don't know the words you can still feel like you're kind of singing along. They also did a great job of building tension before throwing themselves full-throttle into the chorus and whipping up the crowd into a frenzy. In sum, they fucking thrashed, and I have a feeling anyone who walked into this show out of pure curiosity probably walked out with a CD and a t-shirt.

Set List:
Adrenaline Nightshift
Fire’s Highway
Art Czars
The Boys Are Leaving Town
The NIghts of Wine and Roses
Rockers East Vancouver
Younger Us
Heart Sweats
Wet Hair
Evil’s Sway
To Hell With Good Intentions
The House That Heaven Built
Continuous Thunder
Young Hearts Spark Fire
For The Love of Ivy

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