"Exhibitionism," January 9th; Terminal 5, New York City, February 23rd
It is one thing to ask a musician to confess and detail the inspirations embedded in the work. It is always more illuminating to see those loves in play, as I did in the prelude to my January 9th interview with this Canadian power-rock duo: strolling through the Rolling Stones' gallery show, "Exhibitionism," with singer-guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse. King was the bigger Stones freak, taking cellphone photos of vintage guitars and concert posters including one from a 1989 tour that listed Vancouver, Japandroids' hometown. At one point, King paused over proof sheets for the inner sleeves of Exile on Main Street, explaining how he designed the vinyl edition of his band's latest album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, in the gritty, documentary style of Robert Frank's Exile photography.
At Terminal 5, Japandroids wore another set of passions on their sleeves. They were touring with an old friend from past cross-country hauls, singer-guitarist Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, as their opening act. And in the encore, King and Prowse brought Finn back out for a tear through mutual roots: the classic impatience of the Saints' "(I'm) Stranded," an Aussie-punk nugget decked out in Exile-style fuzz and howl.