Tokyo Police Club and Dappled Cities
The Troubadour, July 25, 2007
Better than: Holding off ‘til the full length release.
By: Courtney Lear
One day I’ll learn that it’s not “cool” to show up early for a show. But last night at the Troubadour my nerdy diligence was rewarded by discovering Sydney rockers Dappled Cities who opened for Tokyo Police Club. Echoing the Shins’ sound and employing the prog-rock conventions of Wolfmother, the fast-paced, experimental pop quintet filled the stage with their presence. Vocalist/guitarist Tim Derricourt sang in split personalities, guttural growls led to high-pitched caws and coos in the same breath, matching vocalist/guitarist Dave Rennick’s falsetto in harmonious complicity.
The last song unveiled the power of their progressive rock undertones while whimsical keyboards danced circles around furiously chugging guitars and driving percussion that built to frenzy.
Their raucous performance put energy in the air and set high expectations for who the crowd really came to see, Tokyo Police Club. The short seven tracks on the Ontario natives’ EP A Lesson in Crime are post-punk, angst driven, sound bites. Driven by sporadic guitars and pulsating urgency, their danceable garage rock has been compared to the Strokes. They opened with lead singer/bassist Dave Monks screaming through a fog of distortion, “Operator! Get me the president of the world. This is an emergency,” the intro for “Cheer It On.”
The call to arms got the crowd going as the proclamation song announced their arrival “When you’re standing near/Tokyo Police Club/When you’re standing next to me/Tokyo Police Club.” The short repetitive lyrics strung together the songs of the punchy set like they were trying to spit out the story before they forgot the good parts.
However, the urgency and raw energy that pulsate through your speakers on A Lesson in Crime lost its edge during their live performance. Although starting off on a dynamic note, the crowd seemed bored and slightly confused as most of the efforts during mid-set fell short. The young band have a way to go in upping their performance presence, the crowd just wasn’t buying it. One spark to the performance was the ADD energy of keyboardist/vocalist Graham Wright. He added a quirky personality to the stage, tapping the keys with computer geek concentration and precision, shaking his tambourine to a blur in epileptic fits, shouting hardcore screams, and ultimately stealing the show. Their closing song revived the liveliness of their opener as feverish guitar riffs abruptly punctuated spastic drumbeats for “Be Good.”
Out of their own material, the guys returned for a one-song encore, an unenthusiastically received cover of The Rentals “Friend Of P.”
The atmosphere of the night seemed to be teetering on the edge, with the potential to erupt into dance fury worthy of the excitement inspired by their recorded songs. However, Tokyo Police Club failed to offer the nudge to push the audience into abandon. Delivered skillfully yet standardly, you could have just as well have stayed home and listened to the album.
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Personal bias: I stood in the London rain after missing a bus to get tickets to a TPC show only to arrive and find they’d been sold out for a week. Top that sob story.
By the way: TPC recently inked a deal with Saddle Ranch records and will start recording their next record in September for an early 2008 release.