Tokyo Police Club’s Sold Out Night at the Kool Haus

Date of show: January 15, 2011

PS I love You opened up the night. The duo is loud, and only got louder when frontman Paul Saulnier received a text telling him to turn up the guitar. Coupled with Saulnier’s skill on guitar and rock vocals, Benjamin Nelson’s tight and furious rhythms are easy to be drawn to. Saulnier brought on the punny cheesy banter by saying, “It’s really kool to be here. This is a really kool place.” It was a great opening set from the Kingston band and I expect the buzz around them will continue.

From the moment Two Door Cinema Club took the stage, it was evident they had their own set of fans at the show. Hailing from Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club is comprised of Alex Trimble (lead vocals, guitar), Sam Halliday (guitar, vocals), and Kevin Baird (bass, vocals), as well as a touring drummer (they used to have a drum machine). The guys had fans singing and dancing along to their electronic rock (and very UK) sound, as well as a few crowd surfers. They played a 14-song set and introduced their last song by praising Toronto fans for being so great to them every time they play here. At one point, I believe Trimble even said, “You’re really fucking cool.” Hey, you guys are pretty cool too. (And in this case, no pun was intended).

After Two Door Cinema Club, the crowd anxiously awaited Tokyo Police Club. It was only 5 years ago when A Lesson in Crime EP put Tokyo Police Club on the map. Since then the guys [Dave Monks (vocals, bass), Graham Wright (keys, guitar, vocals), Josh Hook (guitar, vocals), and Greg Alsop (drums)] have released two albums, Elephant Shell and, most recently, Champ. After two big supporting shows in Toronto in 2010 (The Flaming Lips and Phoenix), Tokyo Police Club finally got their Champ headline show in the city… and not just any show, but a sold out banger of a night at the Kool Haus.

After opening up the set with “Favourite Colour”, Monks announced, “We’re Tokyo Police Club and we’re from Newmarket, Ontario. And we came here to have a good time. We’re excited you’re here.” Monks repeated his excitement again a couple songs later, saying, “I feel like we’ve been working really hard at this Tokyo Police Club thing.” Serious understatement, but their hard work has paid off and Monks emphasized, “It’s an honour to play the Kool Haus.”

The guys powered through a 16-song set, highlighted by hits off both albums and their big EP. They owned the stage, with the crowd singing along, clapping along, including a “PhD level” clap for “Tessellate”, and even crowd surfing. Monks’ unique vocals consistently stand out, but the songs are so well layered with lots of distortion from Hook and upbeat melodies on keys from Wright, as well as a rock solid foundation from Alsop. They ended off their set with “Your English is Good” to a highly energized crowd begging for more. They came back for a 3-song encore, starting with “Favourite Food” and then moved to “Cheer It On”. An excellent moment to be a part of was the crowd screaming “Tokyo Police Club!” over and over with Monks. Then Monks announced Two Door Cinema Club would be joining them on stage, and said, “It’s 2011. That means this song is 10 years old. That blows my mind.” The two bands ended off the night with The Strokes’ “Last Nite”. It was a great way to end the night.

Here’s the setlist:

Favourite Colour
Nature of the Experiment
Top 5 [new]
End of a Spark
In A Cave
Hands Reversed
Not Sick
Be Good
Citizens of Tomorrow
Breakneck Speed
Wait Up (Boots of Danger)
Your English is Good

Favourite Food
Cheer It On
Last Nite (The Strokes cover with Two Door Cinema Club)

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Categories: Live Music


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