Japandroids @ The Wardrobe, 1/5/17
Japandroids have been moved from Stylus to the Wardrobe, but the change has not deterred them, and the crowd reception is enthusiastic and more receptive in the more intimate space. They enter and start as they mean to go on, with the title track from their new album Near to the Wild Heart of Life, which is a classic Japandroids whirlwind of thick fuzz and an anthemic chorus.
They then rip through a set packed with songs old and new, with tracks from their new album blending in well amongst fan favourites. They wheel out older songs such as ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’ as well as practically playing the seminal Celebration Rock in its entirety.
In a set like this, there is little down time, both for the audience and the tenacious, sweaty duo, so the 90 minutes they play for quickly flies by. The energy generated by two men in a small venue is palpable and wild, and so it is easy to see why their live shows have been internationally lauded. The songs they play are simple and minimal but are packed with youthful energy of abandon, combined with the nostalgic storytelling of Springsteen. This has made them one of the most enduring and compelling rock duos today, who retain the sensibilities of the old garage-rock formula without letting it become tired or stale.