By Rob Ryan
There are two types of people in this world. Guitarists and drummers. Even if you've never picked up a git or taken a seat at a set, you know which one you are.
Oh, you don't?
Seriously, deep down you do. If you don't, then check out the Japandroids sometime.
We got to Metro later than I wanted to. I didn't have cash on me and the bar didn't accept cards. Fuck. Well, at least there's an ATM on the second floor. I'm gonna need at least two beers immediately to get me out of this funk.
We stand waiting for about twenty minutes or so. Brian and David come on stage for a sound check and tease us with riffs and cymbal crashes. They leave. They come back. I start to get antsy, sighing audibly to those around me, "Play fucking music..."
Fog starts to billow around the stage, creating a haze over the crowd. I'm starting to lose my patience as I finish the first beer when the lights go out. And then they start.
The duo opens with Adrenaline Nightshift. Japandroids is one of those bands that can change your mood in a split second. With the help of their infectious energy, I go from pissed off to amped at the crash of a cymbal. The crowd starts swaying to and fro like a machine powered by the noise. If they perform every song like this, it's gonna be a good night.
Someone who's questioning his or her instrumental orientation at this point in the show may be leaning towards guitarist. Brian's energy is frightening.
The bearded man with long red hair in front of me with a Pearl Jam shirt on moves his right hand up and down in unison with Brian's. He knows what he is. Arms flailing like a madman, David keeps the rhythms going while Brain dances around the stage possessed by his guitar.
For just two dudes from Vancouver, these guys know how to put on a show. The lights seize around the room. I smell a joint light up behind me and the last bullet point on the checklist of “Are you at a rock show?” is crossed off.
Brian pauses before the second song, "That was just the warm up. You ready?" And onto "Fire's Highway" they turn...
About halfway through their set, Brian tells us they saw Metallica on Sunday. The crowd cheers in approval. Brian informs us, "Yeah, David wanted to challenge Lars with this next song." Now the drummers in the audience get to have some fun as the band launches into Heart Sweats.
"X o x o x! X o x o x!" they yell in unison as the cymbals and bass drum take over. Brian pauses as David launches into a brief drum solo, only about thirty seconds or so. I notice my head gyrating to every crash of the cymbals. My hand taps to every pop of the bass drum. I know what I am.
I think to myself, “…yeah, fuck Lars. David’s got this one.”
At the very beginning of the show, Brian announced that this would be their last show in Chicago for a while. Their tour has taken them around the world and it's starting to wind down. There was a slight pang of palpable sadness in the crowd when this was said. However, no one was shocked or upset. It's been over a year since Celebration Rock was released and you could tell that Brian and David are eager to move on to the next step.
They've been lauded since their almost-didn't-happen breakthrough in 2009 with Post-Nothing. They've made their statement with Celebration Rock. What's next for them? Hell if I know. All I know is there's one hell of a guitarist and one fucking drummer up there killing it.
I need to piss.
Those two beers are coming back to haunt me. I shouldn't have downed the first one. Damn you Heineken...
I can't leave though. At this point any song could be their last and I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I missed it.
"Alright guys, this is gonna be our last one..." Brian tells us. Finally an end is in sight for my bloated bladder.
There they go again, changing my mood in the blink of an eye. Crashing into For the Love of Ivy with more intensity than I thought possible from two human beings, Japandroids quiet my pain. Moving towards the drum set, Brian jumps on top of the bass drum and the two musicians attack each other with sound. The strobe lights are blinding and the music is deafening but no one cares. Utter chaos is breaking out on stage and this is what we came to see.
As the last cord fades, I realized I have to piss again.
So, figure it out?
No? Well, shit. I can't help you then. Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock would help you figure it out though...