Tokyo Police Club / Smoosh / The Static Jacks
Bowery Ballroom; New York, NY

I have never been fashionably late to anything in my life. I have this constant fear that I am going to be missing out on the best part of an event if I am anything but punctual. Too many times have I entered the Bowery Ballroom only to be harassed by bouncers as they corralled me and my fellow concert-goers into the dungeon bar, our prison until the doors finally opened. But this time I was going to be smart -- this time I left late. The doors opened at 8 PM, so I left my house at 8:30 to catch what I was hoping to be a long subway ride downtown. I walked into the place and once again was herded to the bar packed with what seemed to be a high school graduation party. I knew the crowd was going to be pretty young.

The openers were New Jersey's The Static Jacks, whose claim to fame was a song featured on the hit, and now pregnant show, Zoey 101, followed by the always-lovable Smoosh. During the latter's set, I kept thinking these guys are going to be even better than Tegan and Sara when they are older. Then my mind wandered to the question of whether or not they are going to be attractive when they are older, but I stopped myself before I was forced to put my name on some sort of state sex offenders list. These girls are barely teens. What the hell was I doing at that age? My greatest accomplishment at that point was obtaining a Golden Chocobo in Final Fantasy 7.

Finally, after staying up past their bedtime, Smoosh resigned and Tokyo Police Club took the stage. I looked up and could only think to myself, "Oh Canada, hockey hair." At that point I had moseyed almost to the edge of the stage by accident. I turned around to notice the cool, "I know how to show up fashionably late" kids had finally filled the ballroom.

Not one for silly things such as banter, Tokyo Police Club lurched into "La Ferrassie." Their set slowly built up until, halfway through, it just turned on a dime and melted faces. From that point on, the dedicated crowd became putty in their hands. Every clapping rhythm was met with applause/rhythm/self-congratulations. There was very little time to breathe between songs with the occasional awkward story before launching into the next. Just as soon as the crowd started getting into a song, it would abruptly end.

That's Tokyo Police Club's Achilles' heel: all of their songs are way too short. To the best of my knowledge, they only have two songs that break the three-minute mark. They have cut the fat that would normally drag the songs down, but the unintended consequence is they all end too soon. This has also been a problem with their studio work because their two EPs and one LP run roughly an hour, which isn't enough to get me to work and back.

An unexpected treat was the inclusion of a light show. Placed behind the band were six tall, skinny lights that contained several LEDs of different colors that flashed throughout the show. Below were several of, I'm assuming, the same types of lights that casted a "ghost story-esque" feel across the front three members of the band.

Almost as soon as the set started, it ended. They wrapped up "Be Good" and walked off stage only to be called back for the inevitable encore. But this is the first time I've ever seen a band walk off stage and be just as anxious as the crowd calling for their return. Unfortunately, they quickly blasted through "Cheer It On," and two minutes after the encore began, it was over... what a tease. The entire set lasted a brisk 56 minutes.

I have the perfect solution for Tokyo Police Club, and it could easily make their set twice as long. Start it over from the beginning. Not one audience member would stand there and second-guess the decision, and with such a limited amount of material, it is a great way to extend an already great show.


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