Japandroids at Terminal West, 12/01/12

Review & Photos by Peterson Worrell

I’ve got to start this review by saying Terminal West is doing things right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an East Atlanta Village boy at heart and I’ll forever love the EARL and 529 for all the great shows that I’ve seen there, but Terminal West is quickly becoming my favorite venue in Atlanta. Last Saturday’s show featuring Japandroids along with Swearin’ just helped to confirm that.

Opening up the show for the night was the indie punk outfit Swearin’ out of Philadelphia. Admittedly, Swearin’ was initially how I was drawn to this show in the first place. Not to downplay my excitement for Japandroids, but I’ve been following the musical endeavors of Swearin’s guitarist/vocalist Allison Crutchfield from some time now, from The Ackleys to PS Eliot.

Swearin’, her latest project with bandmates Kyle Gilbride, Keith Spencer, and Jeff Bolt, certainly draws influences from previous work, but has a decidedly more pronounced punk influence. Kyle Gilbride, who shares vocalist and guitarist responsibilities, brings a heavy dose of 90’s indie rock influence to the band, calling to mind resemblance to Stephen Malkmus. The band blazed through an awesome set featuring stand out songs from their latest self titled LP such as “Kenosha” and “Empty Head”. Although, and unfortunately, most of the crowd that was early enough to catch Swearin’ had been unfamiliar with them before their set, it was easy to tell that plenty were impressed with the set.

By the time Japandroids were getting ready to take the stage, the energy of the crowd had made a marked turn. Besides the fact that the audience likely doubled in size, the excitement was now nearly electric. Although, Swearin’ had been pretty lively while on stage, the enthusiasm and spirit that Japandroids brought was amazing. The one word I would use to describe this band’s presence and musical style would have to be energy. Raw, unbridled energy.

It’s hard to imagine that this band is only comprised of two members when listening to the overwhelming sound of any of their records. Brian King seemed to barely be able to contain himself while jumping around, roaring out lyrics, and shredding on guitar. Not to be outdone, David Prowse also supplied vocals while wailing on drums. The energy definitely moved through the crowd as dance pits formed and crowd surfing broke out at least once during every song. The band brought a great mix of older hits like “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Rockers East Vancouver” along with newer tracks like “Nights of Wine and Roses”, “Adrenaline Nightshift”, and “Younger Us”. By the end of their set, which carried on for well over an hour, both the band and most of the crowd was drenched in sweat and totally exhausted in the best way.