all photos by author.
I had heard of Tokyo Police Club before and knowing that they were popular on the indie scene I thought I’d take the opportunity to check them out at the 9:30 Club last week. I knew this was a hot ticket; it sold out rather quickly and there were people in front of the club looking for extras, so I anticipated seeing a good show.
There were two other bands on the bill, the first being Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, hailing from Springfield, Missouri. SSLYBY brought an almost Weezer-like vibe to the stage and were one of the better opening acts I’ve seen lately. Playing very melodic pop songs, they also displayed a wide range of musicianship as lead singer Philip Dickey and drummer Jonathan James switched duties partway through the set. Overall, it was an enjoyable performance and the crowd definitely was familiar with SSLYBY as they came out to a large ovation and I could see plenty of people singing along during their set.
Two Door Cinema Club was the next band on the ticket and by the time they came on the 9:30 Club was as packed like I’ve never seen it for an opening band. Had I walked in and not known who was on stage, I would have guessed the headliner was playing, especially with the giant Two Door Cinema Club banner draped behind the stage.
TDCC proceeded to play what felt like the same song for the next hour with few breaks in between. It was almost as if someone dared them to play an entire show with one beat. The crowd ate it up as there was no shortage of people dancing and fist pumping to the never changing, driving beat that unfortunately would not quit (or change). TDCC sounds like Franz Ferdinand, except Franz Ferdinand changes tempos and rhythms every once in awhile. Towards the end of their set, TDCC actually began a song with a slower pace and I hoped that I might be treated to something slower…something, you know, actually different…but after a slow intro they fell right back into the same song they played before. And the next song? Yep, a slow, 30 second intro, quickly followed by the same song they played before. Fool me once, shame on me…fool me twice…whatever…just get off the stage. After kicking my ears in the genitals for an hour, they finally did.
David Monks of Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club hit the stage promptly at 10:30 and the first song on their set was “Favorite Colour” which was welcomed with a large cheer. Lead singer Dave Monks smiled as he heard the crowd sing the chorus back to him and keyboardist Graham Wright laid down a nice melody that the crowd danced to. Monks lead the crowd throughout the night in hand claps and at one point gave a shout out to the vaunted 9:30 Club cupcakes. Combining upbeat grooves and fun pop songs with thoughtful lyrics, the crowd had plenty of material to dance with and sing along to throughout the night. One nice moment was during the mellow song “Hands Reversed” when Monks raised the back of his hands to the crowd and the crowd raised their reversed hands back at him in unison.
Monks and keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright
Another highlight was when the band started playing the song “Breakneck Speed”. Most of TPC’s songs lasted for a matter of minutes but they took this song into an extended jam that lasted longer than all the rest. It closed with a big crescendo as Monks ran over to Wright’s keyboard and maniacally mashed the keys and I thought I heard traces of The Who’s “Baba O’Reily” before they started up a great version of their single “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)”. The crowd enthusiastically shouted back part of the chorus “Hey!…So wait up!” at the band.
Guitarist Josh Hooks
Tokyo Police Club played for an hour, running through a good mixture of songs off their 2008 release “Elephant Shell” and their 2010 album “Champ.” The encore song for the evening was a cover of “Last Night” by The Strokes. The Strokes are an obvious influence on TPC and it was a great way to end the night.
Indie pop rock isn’t my first choice of music to listen to but I really liked what I saw from Tokyo Police Club on Thursday night. After having played large festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo, TPC definitely has stage presence and knows how to play to the crowd. While the songs are very short and uncomplicated, there’s a lot of beauty in their simplicity. Guitarist Josh Hook and Wright work very well together and paint their music with various tones at an expert level. If you like really fun pop music and are a fan of The Strokes, I definitely recommend Tokyo Police Club.