Going to see shows at Republic can be sort of a mixed bag. Normally the size of the crowd plays a major part. I’ve seen shows there that were so oversold that the congestion makes the event less worthwhile. On the other hand, if the crowd isn’t at capacity and the bands are giving their all, you wish it was more crowded, enabling the band to feel even more love. Having said that, Friday night the club presented a mix of high energy rock n roll, verging on the immediacy of punk rock.
First up was Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings. Opening the show with the jingly “Stay Useless,” the four-piece roared through a set of more than ten songs. On record, the band comes across as a “rocking but not completely in your face” band. On Friday however, every song was sped up way faster than the album versions, which saw the band and frontman get so into it that he actually seemed to spasm with the continuing upward momentum of the song.
Song after song drive the band further into the frenzied style of punk rock at its best. After nearly an hour of this onslaught, the quartet bid their farewell with a gnarly wall of sound that transfixed the crowd and made them eager for more. The crowd, however, knew it was over. In return for an hour of solid entertainment, the crowd showered the band with praise.
As the prime slot of the evening crept upon the crowd, it was time for Japandroids. Hailing from British Columbia, the punk-leaning but more rock n roll duo has steadily risen in skill over the course of their last three albums. Touring in support of their most recent ‘Near the Heart of the Wild,’ the band tore into the title track off that album. They made mention of their love for NOLA throughout the set, dedicating “North East South West,” to our beloved city, but every other song delivered the intensity of the opening salvo.
The band specializes in longish songs about teenage angst, unforgettable times and mistakes that make you into who you end up becoming. In that way and various other ways, they didn’t disappoint. It was as solid of a show as you could hope for, and multiple chances to be young and free again, able to not care for a little bit, were given to the crowd with ecstatic results. If you were a big fan going in, you likely left being empowered by the straightforward nature of both bands. Hopefully, you left like I did, loving both bands even more. I will say, the long nature of the day has left and the exhausting show left me with a cold, and I look forward to sleeping off a sickness that was only made worse because Japandroids and Cloud Nothings forced me to rock out too much.
Photos by Steve Hatley