Concert Review: Crocodiles Live at Metro (Tuesday, June 11 with Japandroids)

Concert Review: Crocodiles Live at Metro (Tuesday, June 11 with Japandroids)

Tuesday night at Metro, San Diego based lo-fi, indie rock outfit Crocodiles opened up for Japandroids at a sold out Metro... 

Since 2008, Crocodiles have existed in different forms though always revolving around two constants: Brandon Welchez (vocals and guitar) and Charles Rowell (guitar).

Tuesday night at Metro, performing as a four piece fleshed out live by bass and drums/backing vocals, Crocodiles tore through a half hour set that drew from a variety of influences, including shoegazer and punk rock, performed in melodic fashion with a unique pop sensibility.

Opening the set was one of the band's earlier singles, 2009's "Neon Jesus." On record, it relies heavily upon a sort of Doors drenched keyboard. Tuesday, however, it was built upon the fuzzy guitar work of Rowell and pulsing, distorted basslines that carried a swagger more reminiscent of early Stooges than the Jesus and Mary Chain to which the band is so exhaustingly compared.

"I Wanna Kill" followed shortly thereafter.  Shoegazer was more noticeable here as Welchez picked up a red Rickenbacker but what really struck me about the song was it's inherent pop sensibility.  Built upon one of the night's more engaging guitar licks, in the live setting, the song cut like a buzzsaw.

Prepping for the August 20th release of their fourth full length, studio album Crimes of Passion, the band performed new music Tuesday as well.  "Cockroach" was reliant again on the aforementioned dual guitar attack of Rowell and Welchez and provided one of the evening's more rollicking, ultimately satisfying, moments.

Japandroids - Celebration Rock (album cover art)

As the sounds of Led Zeppelin coursed through a sold out Metro, Japandroids Brian King (guitar and lead vocals) and Dave Prowse (drums and vocals) took to the stage to perform their own sound check.  "Tonight only:  absolutely no rules!  If anyone asks, tell them Brian from Japandroids said it was ok" said King setting the tone early for what would become a sweaty, energetic hour and forty-five minute affair.

The victory lap on a tour in support of last June's Celebration Rock that has seen the Canadian duo play everywhere from Schubas to Pitchfork in Chicago, Tuesday's show fell a year nearly to the day of that breakthrough release and was populated accordingly by the sing-a-long hooks of tracks like "The House That Heaven Built," "Fire's Highway," ""The Nights of Wine and Roses," and most notably "Adrenaline Nightshift."

The duo's ability to craft infectious and immensely catchy choruses alongside bombastic, arena-ready rock songs is unparalleled right now in rock, a skill that was on full display all night... as was King's sense of humor.  "F-ck Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks rule!" said the Vancouver native playfully Tuesday on the eve of a 2013 Stanley Cup final that once again features the Blackhawks... and not one of their biggest NHL rivals.

"We've had the privilege of playing in Chicago a lot over the past year, year and a half and this is the last time for a very, very long time" said King in reference to a U.S. jaunt that wraps up June 22nd in advance of a tour that will see the band spend most of it's summer in Europe and Australia.  "Let's make it a moment, Chicago" continued the frontman.  Done and done.

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    Jim Ryan

    Jim Ryan has written about music in print and online for a variety of Chicagoland publications for over fifteen years. In addition to duties filling in as Traffic Anchor on CLTV or in the helicopter on NBC 5, you can also catch him Sunday nights at 6PM central as host of "The Rock N' Roll Radio Program" on AM 1420 WIMS and AM 1060 WHFB (streaming at wimsradio.com and via the TuneIn Radio app for the smart phone or tablet). Jim has also worked locally for WXRT-FM, lives within walking distance of the Metro and is an avid White Sox and Blackhawks fan whose first live concert experience came at Comiskey Park in 1984 during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

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