A few weeks ago we noticed that we had a music-free weekend on the horizon, and needed to find a good excuse to take a road trip back to Ontario. Finding the right show took no time at all, as an email from the Burlington PAC appeared promoting a forthcoming Tokyo Police Club concert for the desired weekend. With tickets purchased, we were ready for this much anticipated show.
We first became aware of the TPC around the time that the “Forcefield” album was released in 2014. The heavy rotation in airplay on CBC Radio for “Hot Tonight” was the musical hook that brought the band to our attention, and we were fortunate to find a copy of the “A Lesson in Crime” EP at a local store. However, we were not ready for the raw, postmodern punk that pulsated from the speakers, and both the CD and the band would remain on the fringe of our musical boundaries for a while.
A short while later, the release of the “Melon Collie (Part 1)” EP and the accompanying radio airplay once again gave us an appreciation for the catchiness of “Not My Girl” and “PCH.” Shortly after we would be purchasing both “Melon Collie” EPs and “Forcefield,” and TPC were on our musical fringe no more.
On concert night, the Burlington PAC quickly filled with a younger crowd, decked out with band merchandise and Vans footwear. As the lights went down, opening act The Elwins took the stage to a lively welcome, and commanded the attention of the room during a high energy set that included tracks from their “And I Thank You” and “Play for Keeps” albums. With their unique blend of indie pop (some call it surf rock), The Elwins had no problem warming up the audience for the main event, and demonstrated a maturity level well beyond their young years.
With an announcement that this was the final night of their current tour, TPC came out firing with the popular hits “Not My Girl” and “Hot Tonight.” The opening riffs had the crowd out of their seats before Dave Monks could sing his first line, and the crowd would remain standing for the duration of the night. The band would pull tracks out of the bag from across their back catalog during the evening, with crowd favorites from “Elephant Shell” (“Your English is Good” and “Tessellate”), “Champ” (“Not Sick” and “Wait Up”) and “Forcefield” (“Miserable” and “Toy Guns”). I was especially pleased to hear them perform all three parts of “Argentina” in its entirety.
Newer tracks from “Melon Collie” were intermixed with the classics to the delight of the crowd. This postmodern indie punk sound was lively, up-tempo, passionate, and engaging, and TPC closed their set to a highly appreciative crowd that had no desire to call it a night just yet.
Returning for the obligatory encore, TPC announced that they would perform some songs without the use of microphones or electric instrumentation. With acoustic guitars and a cajon, the group revisited newer hits in this intimate environment much to the delight of the crowd. The unplugged versions that followed of “My House,” “Awesome Day,” “PCH,” and “Not My Girl” would command crowd pleasure and participation before closing the show.
We arrived at this show as casual fans, but left with a stronger appreciation for the musical gift that the TPC experience provides. If the opportunity arises again for us to return to an evening with TPC, we will absolutely be there to enjoy the music once more. (And we will definitely be pulling out our complete set of TPC CDs for deeper listening.)
We would like to take the opportunity to offer our gratitude to both Graham Wright and Josh Hook for taking time to chat with us in the pub before the show. We remain appreciative of your kind gestures and wish you continued success in your musical journeys.