Japandroids and Cloud Nothings have been tied together in a lot of our minds since they both helped put the "rock" back in "indie rock" on a widespread level in 2012, with Celebration Rock and Attack on Memory, respectively. This year, they returned with new albums on the same damn day and now they're on tour together. The pairing couldn't be more perfect.

The tour hit NYC at Brooklyn Steel last night (10/26), which had Cloud Nothings opening up with the last song on their new album and one of their darkest songs to date, "Realize My Fate." After then playing Here and Nowhere Else's more sugary opener "Now Hear In," they offered up the most aggressive song on the new LP, the screamy and riff-fueled "Darkened Rings." Playing those particular songs from the new album so early on and skipping some of the poppier songs entirely really showed off how much more ominous Life Without Sound can be compared to the earlier material. It's a great look for Cloud Nothings, though of course they made time for some older singalong bangers like "I'm Not Part of Me" and "Fall In," and those ripped as always, too.

The crowd was a little bit on the empty side when Cloud Nothings started, though it had thankfully filled in pretty well by the end of their set. And when Japandroids took the stage, the place was pretty packed. Brooklyn Steel was by far the biggest venue I've ever seen Japandroids in (I missed their Terminal 5 show earlier this year), and those guys have no trouble looking and sounding like rock stars for a huge crowd. I was a little afraid that the "no bass" approach would start to limit them at venues this size, but Brian King's three full stacks seemed to take care of that. Japandroids mixed their set up well between their three albums, mixing old fist-raisers like "Fire's Highway," "Younger Us," "Wet Hair," "The Nights of Wine and Roses," "Young Hearts Spark Fire," and "The House That Heaven Built" with new fist-raisers like "Near to the Wild Heart of Life," "Midnight to Morning," and "No Known Drink or Drug." This was also the most diverse-sounding Japandroids show I've ever seen, thanks to the new album's heavy focus on slower songs. On the Celebration Rock tour, Japandroids used to apologize before playing their one slow song ("Continuous Thunder," which they also played last night), but now Japandroids slow it down pretty often. In between the ragers, they offered up the mid-tempo, synth-fueled "Arc of Bar" (with the synths playing over the PA), the jangly "North East South West" and "True Love and a Free Life of Free Will," and the sorta-atmospheric "I'm Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)," which they said they hadn't played live in North America before. The slower stuff worked in a live setting, and it made the fist-raisers hit even harder.

Pictures of the Brooklyn Steel show are in the gallery above. Both bands' setlist and some videos are below.

As they mentioned on stage last night, Cloud Nothings are hanging around NYC and playing a smaller show at Rough Trade TONIGHT (10/27). (Japandroids also encouraged people to go and said they'll be hanging in the crowd.) You can buy tickets or win them.

Cloud Nothings at Brooklyn Steel - 10/26/17 Setlist
Realize My Fate
Now Hear In
Darkened Rings
Psychic Trauma
Enter Entirely
I'm Not Part of Me
Modern Act
Fall In
Up to the Surface
Wasted Days

Japandroids at Brooklyn Steel - 10/26/17 Setlist
Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Fire's Highway
Heart Sweats
Arc of Bar
Younger Us
North East South West
True Love and a Free Life of Free Will
Wet Hair
Midnight to Morning
The Nights of Wine and Roses
No Known Drink or Drug
Continuous Thunder
I'm Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)
Young Hearts Spark Fire
The House That Heaven Built


photos by Greg Cristman