Live Review Japandroids, Academy, Manchester

Brian King and Dave Prowse have a big sound that is capable of poaching unsuspecting victims and whipping them in to a frenzy. 

In support of their latest album, aptly titled 'Celebration Rock', Japandroids bring the cool college pre-party to The Gaslight Anthem’s latest UK tour. Brimming the beer glasses for an army of fans as loyal as Gaslight’s may be daunting for some bands, but Brian King and Dave Prowse have a big sound that is capable of poaching unsuspecting victims and whipping them in to a frenzy. Singer and drummer work in musical tandem, with King’s melodic bleat strongly backed by chaotic bashing and shouty BVs.

Tracks like ‘Younger Us’ and ‘Fire’s Highway’ burst with power chords and punk energy and set a shit hot template for the rest of their set. ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’ follows as a prime cut garage rock anthem. Starting out like something pulled from the Adventureland soundtrack, 'Young Hearts' splatters into a hedonistic jam dripping in liquor, sweat and summer and features the youth-affirming line, 'I don’t wanna worry about dying. I just wanna worry about the sunshine girls.'

The band blasts through their tracks as briskly as they introduce them, but save their best for ‘The House That Heaven Built’, a powder keg of all the raw elements that makes Japandroids such an enigmatic beast: thrashing, shouting and Springsteenian-style songcraft. No wonder The Gaslight Anthem love them.

As enjoyable as the band are for an opening act, the fact remains that a smaller venue is perhaps more suitable for them to flaunt their best assets to both their diehards and new converts. Regardless, Manchester has swapped numbers with Japandroids and will be calling them back for the night on the town very soon.

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