On Thursday May 17th Circuit Sweet travelled to Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach to finally witness a duo we’ve been obsessed with for some time.
Due to resident DJ’s of the venue, the downstairs’ section opened it’s doors to a very early show and welcomed Polyvinyl’s Japandroids and their touring support Cadence Weapon.
Cadence Weapon opened the nights proceedings; having flown in from New York that day, and his accompanying DJ from Berlin that day- the duo were both jet lagged and had limited time to rehearse. But their professionalism masked these minimal issues as their set proved striking and left the crowd wanting more.
Cadence Weapon whose real name is Rollie Pemberton is an Edmonton Hip Hop hero whose name is deservingly becoming well known. The Canadian artist provided an aspiring set. Following his first track the reception from the crowd was a little dubious, unsure of the act in front of them. However Cadence knew he had to warm his audience and that he did. Pulling in a crowd and connecting with each individual, in the end he even created his own ‘Rap Team’ as he stated. His impressive set united a room of strangers to congregate and connect with himself and his music. Cadence Weapons’ confidence oozed throughout his set. And it was this confidence which made his audience grow.
Performing tracks from his previous releases’ and showcasing new material from his forthcoming third album ‘Hope In Dirt City’ which will be released at the end of this month. One of the tracks from the new release included the exceptionally tight performance of latest single ‘Conditioning’. Throughout this composition the crowd clapped rhythmically to the beats provided and became the backdrop to the track. The single itself highlighted Cadence Weapons’ range as Rollie displayed his digressing vocal arrangements in which he provided a harmonious bridge to the track alongside his attentive rapping. His enthusiasm for his music was present throughout the deliverance of tracks ‘Sharks’ and the 2006 release of ‘Black Hand’ but it was the final track of the set ‘Loft Party’ which was the stand out effort on both his and the DJ’s behalf. As the crowd pulled closer to the act, punching their fist in the air and shouting back his lyrics’ – his quick firing set came to an energetic finish and left everyone desperate to hear more.
Due to the early curfew which had clearly annoyed a few attendees and the performers, the powerful vancouver based duo that is Japandroids took no time in setting up and bracing themselves to blow their audiences’ minds and eardrums.
The two piece garage rock band from Canada consists of Guitarist and vocalist Brian King and drummer and vocalist David Prowse. Intentionally a maximal band- with few numbers making up the act, together they make the sound of a five man band. The duo are currently touring to promote their sophomore album ‘Celebration Rock’ the long awaited follow up to their critically acclaimed 2009 debut ‘Post Nothing’ on Polyvinyl Records.
Beginning their fast paced frantic hour long set, Japandroids- who nowadays are playing stadium shows- admitted to the crowd during their intimate performance that this was the first floor show they’ve done in a long time. And then stated ” We’re the type of band that only plays as well as the audience in front of us”. With that in mind they really did give it their all. Opening with ‘The Boys are Leaving Town’ the crowd crammed into a small space to appreciate the duos’ audaciousness. The start of the set weaved between older more notorious releases to the fresh new releases from their forthcoming album. The hard working pair bask in their kaleidoscopic array of confining resonating warm feedback and wall of sound; their glistening riffs, audacious deep beats and fills, captivating lyrics and aggressive punchy shouts show the musicians abilities and its easy to see the pair simply bounce from one another. As they provide a relentless loud and daring set.
As mentioned the first half of the set seemed a lot more structured as the pair were so desperate to provide everyone with a good time despite the early finish, they bolted through their planned set list which saw the pair perform favorites such as ‘Wet Hair’, ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Gas town’, ‘Racer X’ and ‘Rockers East Vancouver’ to name a few. As the crowd shouted their personal favorite compositions for the duo to play , they were rewarded with a tremendous live version of ‘Heart Sweats’. Throughout their set Japandroids flirted between the direction they can so easily convey. From noodling riffs barraged in the deep projecting sound and its fast scaled uproar to a slower darker, more penetrative orchestration. As the pair quickly headed to the end of their energetic set, the so brutally honest musicians stated they ‘Don’t do encores- it’s pretentious’. And then proceeded to play a flawless version of their new addictive single ‘The House That Heaven Built’.
Japandroids are a force not to be messed with. Their entire intimate performance was powerful and daring. They left their audience with a taste for more and a giant smile across their face. Another quality act whose musicianship unites any crowd.
All images by Oli Montez.
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