Vancouver’s Japandroids on road to indie stardom

The frenzied energy of Vancouver's Japandroids adds vibrancy to local music scene.

Credit: Flickr / Brittany Bush

Vancouver’s Japandroids are making noise across Canada

The frenzied energy of Vancouver’s Japandroids adds vibrancy to the local music scene

The Vancouver music scene is shifting; fast departing are the apathetic indie rock fans who could barely muster a head nod, and a young, vibrant and energetic crowd is taking their place.

Vancouver garage rock duo Japandroids goes national

Nowhere is this better exemplified than through the Japandroids, a Vancouver garage rock duo with a punk influence. While the Japandroids were, until recently, relative unknowns outside the local Vancouver music scene, their debut full-length album Post Nothing catapulted them to indie music glory, in large part due to a glowing review from the influential Pitchfork music website.

The album was also long-listed for the prestigious Polaris Prize, and nominated for the Juno 2010 Alternative Album of the Year.

A frenzied hyper-local energy characterizes the Japandroids. Their songs reference Vancouver through song titles such as “Rockers East Vancouver” and “Darkness on the Edge of Gastown.”

Frenzied fans and heavy-duty fans at live shows

The audience’s exuberance at a Japandroids’ show reflects a new wave of Vancouver music, in which shows are full of excited fans crowd surfing and dancing wildly. The most recent Vancouver Japandroids show was at the Lifetime Collective store, in the Mount Pleasant area. While the acoustics and setup were less than ideal for a rock show, the packed venue pulsed with music and energy.

Guitarist Brian King played the entire show with a heavy-duty fan aimed at his face (as he does during every show), blowing his curly locks to dramatic (and amusing) effect. At one point during the show, the crowd got out of control and almost knocked drummer David Prowse off the stage. Another Japandriods show, at the Biltmore Cabaret, was similarly wild; the rowdy fans were crowd surfing for most of the set—and I almost got a boot in the face.

Coming this fall: Free Japandroids download from Granville and

Currently on tour through October 2010, the Japandroids will be back to perform in Vancouver at the Rickshaw on October 9. Until then, you can check out their MySpace page.

Coming this fall, you can download a sample at, who will be hosting a selection of Canadian-only bands (with a heavy showing from Vancouver) on their mp3 site later this year.

Meera Bennett

Local Meera Bennett loves going to music shows, checking out local art and culture, and eating good vegetarian food. In her spare time, she’s a lawyer working for “the man.” Meera lives in East Vancouver.