Tokyo Police Club @ The VarsityApr 19, 2014
It was a calm night full of pointy hair dudes and their matching set dudettes at the Varsity Theater on April 18th, 2014.
It was a calm night full of pointy hair dudes and their matching set dudettes. I didn’t get the memo, but it was date night last night at the Tokyo Police Club show at the Varsity Theater and it seemed like everyone and their mother had a plus one dangling off the arm.
SAID THE WHALE
This played in well to the first openers style of music, Said the Whale, an earthy indie-pop rock band that almost resembled Radiohead if they were actually happy sometimes. Their positive vibrations emitted into the crowd like a tidal wave that tried to creep around every individual so as to not disturb their calm, interlocking sway.
Leads Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft on the guitar and synth respectively led the quintet into the night, brushing the canvas of the crowd with their exuberance. When “I Love You” came on, it slotted perfectly into the crowds mood like a puzzle piece, completing a fuzzy-feelinged first act that set the tone for the night.
Geographer, the second act to take the stage, made a point of continuing the carefree, upbeat mood the night would bring. The bands lush sound had some diverse points to it, having an entire table of pedals setup for lead singer Mike Deni to play around with.
With only three members, Nathan Blaz on the cello, Brian Ostreicher slamming the drums and the previously mentioned Deni, it seemed most of their songs would be simple. However, each member made jumps to different instruments mid song throughout the night and their frantic running about the stage increased the excitement of the crowd as keyboard, beatpad, cowbell, and saxophone were added into the set at various intervals.
I personally wasn’t into the Coldplay-Animal Collective collaboration these electro-pop artists were going for, but I have to admire their skill. They seemed a little too into themselves for how the crowd was responding to them, but I can see their popularity catching up to their self-image one day.
TOKYO POLICE CLUB
Getting to the main attraction, I must preface with the fact I’ve loved Tokyo Police Club since “A Lesson In Crime” dropped back in ‘06. After listening to their new album “Forcefield”, however, I wasn’t getting my hopes up. The band seemed to sacrifice a lot of the uncommon punk and indifference that this four-piece was known in favor of pop-inspired, shredding electric guitar.
I was a bit disappointed by the 33 minute long album, but TPC knows how to change some minds. Starting out gutsy with an 8 minute and 30 second “Argentina”, they moved from song to song without missing a beat. Playing everything from the rocking “Gonna Be Ready” to throw backs to past albums in “Favourite Colour” and “Nature Of The Experiment”, it was good to see that the group had not lost their roots.
They handled their performance with a lot of poise and confidence, illustrated by a single file line of heavily intoxicated crowd members that walked up on stage to dance with the unflappable ensemble. Without batting an eye, the group continued while the dancers were pulled one by one off the stage by security. When “Beaches” was done, vocal and bassist David Monks addressed the party crashers by informing the crowd that “Tokyo Police Club only has four members. And none of them are chicks.”
With that bit of humor out of the way, the band launched into further pop ear-candy with “Miserable”, “Toy Guns” and “Tunnel Vision.” When crowd favorite “Hot Tonight” was reached, all eyes were glued to the stage, including my doubting ones.
After the aforementioned track, the troop bid its adieu from the stage... only to have Monks reappear with an acoustic guitar, pleaded with the crowd for silence. Met with shouts of “Free-Bird” and “Wonderwall”, and without microphone or amp, Monk performed “Tessellate” to cap off an energy-packed night.
However, the rest of TPC wasn’t going to let Monk have all the fun as Graham Wright, Josh Hook, and Greg Alsop retook the stage for a classic “Cheer It On” and finally finishing the set with “Your English Is Good”, asking the crowd to “give us your vote”, which the crowd happily obliged, and bringing a close to a surprisingly satisfying show.