Sometimes, in the right setting, music can stretch your mind, change your surroundings, and make you rethink life from a new, more emotionally in-tune perspective. And sometimes it’s just good noise to bop around the room to. With no slight to them, Canada’s Tokyo Police Club falls into the latter category. Like a more conceptualized version of Blink-182, this four-piece has mastered the art of the power chord and can churn them in such a way that almost demands a head nod and a smile, even from the most discerning of showgoers. For Friday’s admirably full all-ages show, though, we got a mixed bag of appreciative elders and fervent kiddos, who delivered much more than an appreciative toe-tap come showtime.
Backed by scorching guitar licks, New Wavey synth parts, and stomping drum beats, lead singer Dave Monks proved the star of TPC’s super buoyant live show, yelping and chanting lyrics that had fans eagerly scream-singing along—eyes closed and all. Sonically, these four Canucks were about as tight as a band gets and churned through the rock numbers with a speed and precision that rivaled them in recorded form. But the slower jams, like “Breakneck Speed” and the bittersweet “End of a Spark,” were where this quartet truly shined, managing to convey a sincerity and appreciation for songcraft that elevated the night as a whole.
Elsewhere, new track “Top Five!” packed a solid punch, with its jangly mix of brushed drums and Monk’s cheeky lyrics (“By 1983! / But you’ll always be a hundred to me”). And later, the clap-along–worthy “Tessellate” proved the favored oldie, complete with its lengthy, “physically demanding” call for audience participation. By night’s close, the hardcore fans seemed all the more enamored with their beloved rock stars, and casual fans got to hear what they came for (namely, “Not Sick” and the show-closing “Your English Is Good”). And those of us looking for something to pick apart walked away with a new guilty-pleasure band—to enjoy in moderation, of course.