Japandroids Destroys its Kick Drum, Tells Jokes and Puts on One of the Best Shows of the Year

Leigh Righton
Japandroids | Swearin'
The Firebird
November 20, 2012

Eyes closed, head bowed and rhythmically jogging in place with his guitar over his shoulder, Brian King looked like a linebacker psyching himself up for kickoff as David Prowse started in on the drums.

Japandroids dove into an extended introductory jam that gradually built to a crescendo, finally exploding into...a comedy set. In his fury, Prowse broke the kick drum, leaving several awkward minutes to fill, which King gamely did with an impromptu series of jokes. I'll spare the details of why hipsters make poor lovers, but the unfortunate beginning only made Japandroids more determined to "make up for it" by "tearing the house down".

See also:
-See Japandroids Tonight, Because The Band Might Break Up Tomorrow: An Interview With Guitarist Brian King
-Japandroids induces moshing at the Billiken Club
-Brian King's five-stack of Fender cabs: Japandroids' unofficial third member

Mission accomplished. Throughout their frenetic seventeen-song set, the Vancouver duo showed why it has earned its reputation as a great live band, blessing the Firebird with what was unquestionably one of the best St. Louis shows of the year. Fusing great technical acumen with non-stop energy and enthusiasm, Japandroids played with the urgency of a band that regularly acknowledges it could break up at any time.

King was a dervish on stage, whipping his mop of hair around like a Will Smith offspring and covering every square inch of the stage with spastic dancing, often having to leap back toward his microphone stand to avoid missing his vocal cue. Prowse's drumming was sharp, precise and powerful. Not since Super Bowl XVIII have skins taken such a beating. The comment most frequently heard leaving the show was amazement at how much noise was made by just two people (clearly people making that observation don't have children).

King had amazing rapport with the crowd, slapping hands with the first row, providing background stories about many songs and letting everyone know when it was time to "fucking rock." The only risk he took was when he boasted that the hockey team that is locked out in Vancouver is superior to the hockey team that is locked out in St. Louis. Ouch. King may have alienated the two or three people that may still care about the sport with that unprovoked attack.

Location Info


The Firebird

2706 Olive St., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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While I had hoped to experience the kind of show that Dave did, unfortunately, I did not. My guess is that he was close to the stage.


The show was a good, but it was by no means great. The 50 people immediately in front of the stage were obviously having a ball. The rest seemed ambivalent. There are probably several reasons for this, but the biggest was -- and this is a complaint I heard from nearly everyone that I talked to at the show -- the sound.


To be clear, this was not the Firebird's fault. The band brought their own FOH engineer, who seemed to be confused for the first 15 minutes of the set and then gave up, apparently. The problem was that the music didn't hit at all. Volume was too low. Guitar was way too low in the mix. From the back of the shallow room, it felt like I was a mile away. I'm sensitive to loud rooms, and while I had earplugs in my pocket I was never remotely tempted to pull them out.


Again, the band played well and passionately. And apparently those up next to the stage weren't feeling the disconnect that the rest of us were, given the number of beer-clutching hands in the air. But for many others, something was clearly flat.


@the_dauph we really do.

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