Tokyo Police Club @ the Talking Head

Greg’s take: I was happy that Myspace was granting us a second, more notable secret show than the Circa Survive thing. I mean c’mon, other cities got Smashing Pumpkins and Decemberists… And nothing was necessarily bad about the show, just nothing really good about it. I agree with most of Alex’s much more detailed take. Meligrove was middle-of-the-road, clean but simple mall-fodder indie pop-rock. What more could you expect from a Myspace-sponsored show? Tokyo Police Club were highly polished, but the “wow” factor that was expected to keep consistent with the hype was non-existent. Their music elicited merely a “that’s really nice” response. It was a free show, so I don’t really have any room to complain; if I had paid though, all bets would’ve been off.

Alex’s take: Coming out of the Tokyo Police Club “Myspace Secret Show” at the Talking Head Club last night I found myself thinking Aural States had committed its first major blunder—we got caught up in the hype surrounding a show that probably didn’t deserve as much attention as it got.

Upon receiving the announcement for the show, I was giddy with what I thought was fresh-and-breaking knowledge. Enough to make me forget my original opinion of Tokyo Police Club—a band that makes decent, though completely unremarkable indie pop songs a la mtvU. I had succumbed to dangerous Internet group-think (read: retardation), combined with a music blogger’s fear of missing fodder for snide comments fired at a distance.

Given the show’s free and “secret” status, I thought this night was going to be huge. It turned out that the Talking Head didn’t even come close to full capacity. Adam Savage of the Talking Head said that he, too, was expecting a much bigger crowd. I have no definitive cause for the less-than-expected turnout, but I can make an educated guess (from what people had told me, and by multiple blog comments): there was probably a large degree of Myspace backlash/bloglash at work. It seems everyone thought the place would be stuffed with Myspace teen posers from the ‘burbs, and just didn’t even come out. In the end those naysayers were by-and-large dead on about the crowd (as far as I can tell), and really didn’t miss much.

The only opener for the night was Meligrove Band out of Ontario, Canada. Before getting into a critique, I’ll make the disclaimer that I’m never looking to be negative in a review, but I find it hard to say many positive things about the band.

At least the drummer Darcy Rego showed a bit of honesty when he admitted that Tokyo Police Club has “Some pretty nice coat tails.” Too bad self-deprecating humor by the drummer doesn’t translate into actual drumming chops. Apparently the original drummer left the group some time ago. Rego, the then lead guitarist, took over behind the kit. Every beat was the same, and at exactly the same tempo.

The onstage banter blew past awkward and approached creepy/lame when singer/guitarist Jason Nunes let loose the village bicycle of “Dead Baby” Jokes, out of nowhere. This kind of uneasy crowd interaction usually doesn’t make it past the school talent show level.

So Myspace.

Meligrove Band has been around for a minute, but they might as well be that high school band playing all the house parties. The lyrics were stuck in that adolescent infatuation hoping-its-love-but-still-too-naive-to-really-know-about-love phase. Get what I mean? Here’s a sampling of some of the choruses: “I know you love me, but I will love you more,” or “My love will make the world go round.” If the Earth were really propelled around its axis by Meligrove Band love, things would be at a standstill.

Much more bashing, and I’ll start to sound like a bully. I should take into consideration that I am not now, nor have I ever been a teenage girl. So that means I’m not the audience for whom Meligrove Band is writing songs. Let’s leave it at that.

Tokyo Police Club took the stage with vertical LED strips set in a semi-circle behind them. In a way the lighting reminded me of a cross between the Battles video for “Tonto”, and the New Order video for “Crystal,” but nowhere near as cool as either.

I have to be honest—I find it hard to say anything constructive or insightful about TPC’s performance. I could describe the formal aspects of their music, but you can do that yourself just by listening to the tracks. The performance was tight and polished, but obviously lacking that intangible element to bring me in deeper.

I admit I don’t have the cache of blogger credibility to be the definitive voice on TPC, but I’ve always been indifferent toward them. Seeing them live didn’t change my opinion, but the experience did expose my susceptibility to Internet hype, to which this blog contributed.

This was the second Myspace sponsored event in recent months that I had attended, and both were underwhelming. They just feel forced and superficial. Giant Myspace posters were on the walls, and a table with “Hello my name is…” stickers was set up. Not surprisingly a lot of guys that put the stickers on their crotch also had “X’s” on their hands. But nothing tops the sticker placed on the back of a girl from, I believe the Myspace street team, that read “Hello my name is: Hoochie Mamma.”

The show was also plagued by annoying pop-up ads, and spammed friend requests from girls I don’t know.

After the show I asked singer/bassist Dave Monks if he had a Facebook or Myspace account. He said “Both,” but we all know what he really meant.

Set list for Tokyo Police Club

La Ferrassie

In a Cave


Sixties Remake

If It Works



Your English is Good

Cut Cut Paste

Citizens of Tomorrow


New New



Nature of the Experiment


Be Good

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