Thursday July first Tokyo Police Club played the Royale backing their new album Champ released last month. Oooh Royale what’s that ? That sounds cool, and in theory it is. Royale is this new venue in the theatre district run by New York based promoters Bowry Presents. It is a medium sized venue (somewhere in size between The Paradise without big poles in the middle and The House of Blues) decorated like a swanky ballroom. The venue has a stellar lineup coming to town already, and would be a lot cooler if it wasn’t made in the same douchebagy (Scumbaggy) vein as the House of Blues. It caters to mostly disinterested, young professionals who made up most of the crowd Thursday. Boston needs more dirty clubs with good smoking sections.
Anyways, Tokyo Police Club. Their set was also cool in theory. The new bigger sound they were going for on their new record sounds good on record, but live it just didn’t come together. Maybe the new songs just aren’t ready to hit the road yet. They leaned too much on their synths and guitar effects taking away some of that dirty punch that made their first record Elephant Shell and EPs wonderful. Maybe they have just been hanging around Passion Pit, who they’ve been touring with, too much. All the pieces were there just never put together right, like a sweet new Lego you got when you’re seven, but your dumb little brother ate the instructions so it never looked like it did on the box.
The set began with Favourite Food, the first song on the new record. The slow burner, which starts off slow and murky and builds into a fast anthemic scream-along, would have been the perfect way to start off a show, but the transitions were off and it just sounded contrived. Nature Of The Experiment and Favourite Color followed. They stumbled through their set just sort of missing cues. At least singer Dave Monks didn’t lose his ear to ear smile through the whole show.
They sort of found their stride ¾ of the way through their set on Juno off their first full-length, and their saving grace was the last two songs of the set Your English Is Good and Be Good and their single encore Cheer It On. They nailed these older songs with force, precisions, and grit. It made me remember why I first liked Tokyo Police Club, because their songs are punchy and they wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Note: During Be Good guitarist Greg Alsop and keyboardist Graham Wright juggled tambourines across stage. I have to admit that was pretty rad.
So for now, I’d stay stick with blasting the album in your car, the young Canadians need some time to hone their new stuff and some time away from Passion Pit.