We Love Music: Tokyo Police Club @ Black Cat–5/13/14

Tokyo Police Club (Photo courtesy Sacks & Co.)

Tokyo Police Club (Photo courtesy Sacks & Co.)

I’ve been somewhat remiss in singing the praises of Tokyo Police Club.

The Ontario-based post-punk quartet played a show at the Black Cat on Tuesday, May 13, and an overly aggressive schedule on my part has thwarted my attempts to say a good word about a good show!

Well, allow me to correct that now. Although as the sold-out crowd at the Black Cat well knows, Tokyo Police Club do well enough without my praise. In March, the band released its fourth full-length album, Forcefield, and stopped in DC to promote it a month along in a tour that seems scheduled to go on for at least a few more weeks.

Forcefield demonstrates Tokyo Police Club’s terrific consistency, and a renewed focus on good dance numbers. The one exception to this might be the somewhat more methodical “Argentina, Pts. I, II, III,” a remembrance of lost love that sounds sunny and nostalgic but longer and more drawn out than other songs on the new album. By contrast, “Tunnel Vision,” a much more typical and danceable new song on the album, demonstrates the group’s emphasis on dance tunes with catchy hooks and memorable phrases–like the refrain, “I just want to make it through one more night.” It’s a perfect glam-pop moment that captures a 24-hour cycle in a 3-minute declaration of intent to keep on partying.

The band played perpetual favorites as well, including 2006’s “Nature of the Experiment,” an apparent nod to the awkwardness of trying to get it right in feeling yet still stumbling along somehow–“Where I keep on falling for her.” The main set closes with “Cheer It On,” another early song of dumb fun most memorable for empowering the audience to shout out the band’s name “Tokyo Police Club!” in random places.

The encore was a satisfying three songs of older material, beginning with lead singer Dave Monks sitting alone, playing a solo acoustic version of Elephant Shell’s “Tessallate.” He does so without accompaniment or even microphone, and the hushed audience is soon singing along with him in a very powerful testament to the fact that this fellow has some songwriting talent–and also that Tokyo Police Club aren’t necessarily all fun and games. The band wraps the encore with “Your English Is Good,” another fun song that has some slightly dark overtones and hails again from the first LP.

In performance, Monks and his cohorts are focused and engaging. Monks clean-cut good guy look helps to sell music largely about disillusionment over falling in love and similar matters. To his left, keyboardist Graham Wright stands out as he paces out each song, switching to guitar on various songs and swaying along to the beat.

All in all, it was a good show from a thoroughly enjoyable band. Their growing fanbase is attributable to such good performances and the fact that the band knows best what to do and how to do it well. I’ll undoubtedly be catching them again in the future.

Mickey reviews music shows. For recent reviews, visit Parklife DC.


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