With the recent release of their three-part single “Argentina” and an upcoming album, Forcefield, set to come out in spring 2014, the announcement of a Tokyo Police Club concert on McMaster’s very own campus was a bit overwhelming. This feeling only grew when I learned that Ottawa’s Hollerado would be there with them, along with Aukland, a band featuring a McMaster student.
I’ve been a big fan of Tokyo Police Club, the four-piece indie-rock band from Newmarket, for quite some time, and it seems each of their albums brings something new and fun to the table. Everything from the seemingly random lyrics to the ridiculously catchy hooks has left me coming back for more every time. Still, one of the things that truly defines a band is how well they play live, and their show last Saturday only reaffirmed everything I love about them.
Before getting ahead of myself, it goes without saying that the opening acts were definitely also quite a treat. Hollerado has grown in the last few years in terms of both stage performance, and song writing technique.When I last saw them, they were playing a small stage at Edgefest, and were clearly still tightening their sound. Vocals were strained at times, and the collective energy of the band sometimes lost control – and not in a good way.
This time around, hits like “So it Goes” and “Pick Me Up” from their latest album White Paint really brought out the energy in the crowd. More importantly, the erratic energy of singer Menno Versteeg was concentrated directly on making the show as fun as possible, and his vocals showed serious improvement. Between conversations about Dave Monks hating dogs and their suggestions to the audience that we try “every drug ever,” Hollerado’s stage banter certainly succeeded.
The same could be said of the lesser-known opening band Aukland, who successfully wowed the crowd despite a relatively short set. I can’t deny the existence of a very positive bias towards any band out of Mississauga (having spent too many bored suburban nights there growing up), but no one can deny the musical tightness Aukland showed on stage. While they still have much to learn from the bands that followed them, Aukland seems well on their way to being able to see the same success on their own, and they really pumped up the audience for the main event.
With that in mind, Tokyo Police Club continued to deliver what the audience was looking for. The simple, solid riffs and quirky keyboard sounds that the band is known for were as engaging and as exciting as ever. Even better, the band played much from their upcoming album and it appears to be another step in the right direction. Whether it was the occasional Strokes cover, or the closing acoustic version of “Tessellate,” everything about the show seemed to go exactly as planned.