Credit: Chris Schmelke
While Radiohead’s Kid A plays on the overhead, many of the almost sold-out show are fighting back yawns before the headliners Tokyo Police Club take the stage at D.C.’s Black Cat. Although they name Radiohead as a major inspiration, Kid A might’ve been a poor choice for overhead music before their set because the D.C. audience did a whole lot of standing still during TPC’s entire set; it was not easy to get them moving. Tokyo Police Club didn’t seem to mind; of course why would they? They’ve been selling out venues across the world and they’ve been getting thrilling responses. The night before D.C., in Philadelphia, “They went nuts.” Bassist and vocalist Dave Monks said of the audience. “It wasn’t just one or two people doing it . . . it was kinda like (throughout) the entire set,” he said, excited that a show in the states could be as intense as a show in Canada; Tokyo Police Club’s hometown is Toronto, Ontario. While a lot of audience members at indie shows tend to avoid dancing and opt for standing still, Dave admits, “I’ve seen a lot of bands live and I’m absolutely guilty of not moving at shows.” The guys in TPC do like to see energy coming from their audience, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be kinetic, “We had an amazing show in Japan where people didn’t make any noise at all when we were playing but afterwards you could just see the smiles on everyone’s faces and everyone was cheering. It was definitely kind of bizarre, but it just felt right,” said Dave. “Just responsiveness in any way” will be appreciated by the members of TPC, said Dave.
While they’ve been selling out venues lately, TPC’s goal is to establish themselves as a long term band. “Don’t’ want to be a flash in the pan type situation . . . just establish ourselves as a band that’s going to be here for a while not just one of those bands,” Greg Alsop, drummer, explained. Before venues were selling out on the nights they visited, TPC’s goals were a lot more modest, “When we first started we’d play anywhere to anyone . . . At first I didn’t know we’d be playing the Black Cat,” said Dave. The guys, recent Letterman performers, were shocked by any media attention at all to begin with. “When I first heard ourselves on the radio in Toronto . . .I mean . . .that was not part of the plan,” Dave said, explaining original goals for the band.
“Your view of success changes so much . . . you kind of refine your goals as you go,” said Greg.
As they continue trying to establish themselves as a long term band, TPC just released a new album, Elephant Shell. It was released on April 22nd but the majority of the D.C. audience may not have picked it up yet, considering they didn’t show much energy as TPC plowed through at least half the songs from the album. Elephant Shell is their first full length, and it’s a good listen. It seems a bit more relaxed than their previous LP A Lesson in Crime, but there is still a good amount of poppy riffs, clapping, and dance-able They guys in TPC are happy about the response to the album so far and feel that most fans like it more than the old stuff, “As far as live shows, it used to just be that new songs would get the standard obligatory applause, like ‘cool cool, now let’s hear something we know,’ but now its working out that even the new songs get louder cheers than old songs,” said Dave. “We’re really happy with it and we tried to make a record where every song could be someone’s favorite Tokyo Police Club song,” he said. Dave named his favorite song on the new album as “The Baskervilles”, the very last track. Find your favorite Tokyo Police Club song at www.myspace.com/tokyopoliceclub.