It’s one thing if a band from your immediate area becomes a sensation in any regard. But if any band from a major regional city, like Toronto, start off their latest American tour in a city right across the border, you better imagine fans will come in droves to see them. That’s why on January 19, Toronto indie darlings Tokyo Police Club played in front of a nearly-full crowd at Buffalo’s Waiting Room. And the crowd came from near and far to see the Canadian lads.
Tokyo Police Club, made up of David Monks (bass/lead vocals), Josh Hook (guitar), Graham Wright (keyboards/guitar), and Greg Alsop (drums) have been big names in the U.S./Canadian border indie scene for a while now. In the past 10 years, they’ve performed at festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and Bonnaroo. They’ve toured with the likes of Weezer, and Foster the People and released four LP’s and three (or four if you’re picky) EP’s. Buffalo was the first stop on their tour promoting their new EP, with stops in Washington DC, Cambridge, MA, Montreal, and Peterborough, Ontario coming up.
Monks had immediate control over getting the crowd, wearing a black button-down shirt that gave off a look oddly reminding me of Billy Corgan. Maybe it was intentional, since their lastest, two-part EP is called Mellon Collie and the Infinite Radness. Either way, the crowd at the front reached their hands inches from Monks’ face as he reached the edge of the stage with his bass. Wright, doing double duty on backing guitar and keyboards, was by far the most enthusiastic performer of the act, bobbing around as he churned out various synth riffs and was by far the more energetic guitar player, even if his riffs mostly came in when Hook had a solo.
The audience was more than willing to clap along when Monks urged them too, or on their own. There were also instances of a pineapple being passed around and held up by audience members, along with one attempt at crowd surfing that didn’t get too far. Musically, people recognized each song that started playing, like the distinct opening synth riffs of “Bambi” and “PCH.” They chanted along with the chorus lines of “Favorite Color” and “My House.” They waved their arms side-to-side during the slow intro of “Breakneck Speed.” And they managed to keep up with the multi-part “Argentina.”
The band closed out their initial set by playing their first EP, A Lesson in Crime, in it’s entirely to celebrate its 10th anniversary. With each song hardly breaking the two and a half minute mark, they were notably more unrefined, more raw. The opening track, “Cheer It On,” harkens back to the time bands like The Strokes and Interpol were the toast of the indie community. “Shoulders & Arms” has a streak of noise-like guitar they would hardly come back to, while “Citizens of Tomorrow,” even with it’s hints of dance-punk, would harken to what the band would eventually turn into.
By the time the band finished playing “La Ferrassie,” the final song from A Lesson in Crime, and bid their audience goodnight before coming out for an encore, the place had been completely enamored by whatever plans the band had up their sleeve. If the crowds at their upcoming shows are anything as responsive as the one in Buffalo, then Tokyo Police Club should expect a good time up ahead.