Canada’s Tokyo Police Club crossed the border – and the Hudson – for what would have been a great show, were it not marred by a crowd that was too… well… Jersey.Less than a month after the announcement of a deal with Saddlecreek Records for their debut LP, Tokyo Police Club delivered a rollicking set full of new material, as well songs off of last year’s A Lesson In Crime EP and more recent singles. While still TPC, the new stuff also showed the band’s significant growth, but the audience On August 11th at Maxwell’s (QRO venue review) in Hoboken was stuck in the past. There was even a mosh pit.
The majority of the fans were dismayed at the moshing, but it only takes a few bad apples… Luckily, the pit didn’t show up until near the end of the set, during a blistering version of one of the top Lesson tracks, “Nature Of the Experiment”. Maybe the audience had been keyed up by the four Lesson tracks in row that ended with “Nature”, after getting mostly new numbers before that. Maybe the group’s request at the beginning of the foursome for help clapping out “Citizens of Tomorrow” got the crowd in a ‘fan participation’ mood. Maybe they took the following “Shoulders and Arms” as inspiration. Maybe it was that the incredible live performance of the quiet-to-loud “La Ferrassie” shot things too high. Whatever it was that got them there, the moshers really impinged upon “Nature”, as well as the following new song, “Famous”. It was only when TPC went straight from “Famous” into the similar, but Lesson in Crime, “Be Good”, that the ship was righted. Unfortunately, “Good” was the last song, and despite the loud demands of the moshers (or perhaps because there were moshers), the band played no encores.
The first two-thirds of the set featured a lot of new material that pointed in two directions. Pieces like “Elephant”, “Sixties”, and “Centennial” were largely slower, fuzzier, and sadder than Lesson, with “Centennial” the stand out. Then there were the more anthemistic tracks like an untitled piece of theirs, and the ones that started slow and sad, before building into faster, stronger anthems, such as “Harrowing” and the remarkable “Nursery”. But even there, the audience was a bit of a let down, coming off as somewhat uninterested in the new material. It was only when the band hit their most booming older stuff that the crowd truly came alive, like with their recent singles “Your English Is Good” and “Cut Cut Paste”, or with the powerful album- and set-opener, “Cheer It On”.
Right near the end of their tour, Tokyo Police Club will soon be hitting the studio to produce their long-awaited first full-length. 2007 has seen them pick up numerous fans from the tour and their performances at Lollapalooza and Coachella (not to mention on Late Night with David Letterman), so much so that the band had to add an extra Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review) gig. They’ll be playing there not just on the Friday before the Maxwell’s show, but also on the Monday afterwards. As a native Jerseyite, I take no joy in criticizing my home state crowds, but here’s hoping the Manhattanites were, and will be, more forward thinking.