On Thursday, July 1st, Tokyo Police Club played the Royale in support of their new album Champ, which was 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 Bowery Presents. It is a medium-sized venue, somewhere between the Paradise without the view-obscuring pole and the House of Blues in terms of size, but decorated like a swanky ballroom.
Tokyo Police Club’s set was also cool in theory.The new, bigger sound they were going for on their new album sounds good in the studio, but it just didn’t come together in the live setting; 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 EPs and first full-length, Elephant Shell, memorable. Maybe they have just been hanging around Passion Pit, with whom they’ve been touring, too much. All the pieces were there, just never put together right, like a sweet new Lego set you got when you were 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. This slow-burner, which starts off murky and builds into a fast anthemic scream-along, should have been the perfect way to start off a show, but the transitions were off and the whole song sounded contrived. “Nature Of The Experiment” and “Favourite Color” followed, as the band stumbled through the first few songs, seeming to miss cues. At least singer Dave Monks didn’t lose his ear-to-ear smile through the whole show.
They more or less found their stride ¾ of the way through their set on “Juno,” from 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 song “Cheer It On.” They nailed these older songs with force, precision, and grit, and those performances made me remember why I first liked Tokyo Police Club; their songs are punchy, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. It didn’t hurt that during “Be Good,”guitarist Greg Alsop and keyboardist Graham Wright juggled tambourines across stage. I have to admit that was pretty rad.
For now, I’d say stick with blasting the album in your car. The young Canadians need some time away from Passion Pit so they can hone their new stuff.