Monday, June 18th, 2007

Cheer It On

So much for my quiet weekend. After Friday night’s late night out at Tiger Bar, I was back there again Saturday for an impromptu, intimate show from Tokyo Police Club. While it wasn’t the Rolling Stones at the Horseshoe, it definitely qualified as “an event” for a band whose star has risen considerably in the past year, with them having appeared on Letterman in April and working the UK and US festival circuits this Summer.

I’d seen the band a few times in 2006 and while my initial impressions weren’t all that positive, I was pleased to see their live show improve by leaps and bounds the next couple times I caught them. So with eight months or so passed since the last time out, it was mathematically conceivable that they were now the best live band on the planet. This turned out to not be the case, but they put on a pretty damn good show regardless.

Though they’re now selling out much larger rooms, I think it was evident that the band still thrives best in a small, hot, sweaty club (though you can probably say that about most bands) and if the Tiger Bar was anything on Saturday, it was small (capacity maybe 100 people, probably not), hot and sweaty. Energetic, enthusiastic and displaying a focus that wasn’t there a year ago, Tokyo Police Club turned out a short but dense set that was backloaded with A Lesson In Crime. Most of the set featured new material and it sounded impressive – managing to balance the dreaded but necessary maturity that comes with experience with the youthful vim and exuberance that gets the kids dancing.

Considering that the band has made it as far as they have on the strength of one EP that clocks in at under 20 minutes and a couple singles on top of that, I’m very interested to see where their debut full-length – still unscheduled as far as I know but surely not that far off – takes them. I’m also interested to contrast their next Toronto date with this one – that’s on September 9 at Virgin Festival. Obviously it’ll be a different world but I want to see how they work an exponentially larger stage and crowd.

Photos: Tokyo Police Club @ The Tiger Bar – June 16, 2007
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “The Nature Of The Experiment”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Citizens Of Tomorrow”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Cheer It On (Trey Told Em Remix)”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Nature Of The Experiment” (YouTube)
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Cheer It On (version 1)” (YouTube)
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Cheer It On (version 2)” (YouTube)
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Your English Is Good” (YouTube)
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club

The New York Times considers the musical enigma known as Ryan Adams. The man releases his first album of 2007 Easy Tiger on June 26 and plays the Enwave Theatre in Toronto on June 22.

Chart discusses Five Roses with Miracle Fortress’ Graham Van Pelt. Miracle Fortress are at the Whipper Snapper Gallery on Saturday – and don’t forget I’ve giving away Miracle Fortress vinyl just down below there.

Hard To Find A Friend has posted an interview with Centro-Matic’s Will Johnson. Glorious Noise also posted an interview/video session with the man last month that I don’t think I’ve linked.

So since my invite to the MMVAs must have gotten lost in the mail, I spent yesterday afternoon at the Bloor catching The Lives Of Others. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film this year, it’s set in 1984’s East Germany and follows the surveillance of a couple – a playwright and actress – by the state police. Though long and slow, there’s not a single wasted moment and I found it riveting. It operates as both a thriller and character study and where one falters – in particular, the quiet emptiness of the Stasi captain’s life contrasted with the richness of the artists’ is obvious and overstated – the other picks up the slack and more than compensates. Though the East German politics are fundamental to the film, it’s not a film about the politics – just the flawed people who live and work within the system. And even removed from time and place, you can easily imagine the same story occurring in the west. That said, while I didn’t visit any of the former GDR while in Europe, I did visit some of the cities formerly behind the Iron Curtain and seeing a recreation of how life was before it fell was extra fascinating. The DVD is out in North America on August 21 but if it’s running at a rep theatre near you between now and then, catch it. It’s excellent.

Trailer: The Lives Of Others

Also accomplished this weekend – a cull of the promo pile. Basically I went through everything I’ve got and hit up the respective MySpaces for each band and gave a listen to a song or two. More if it intrigued, less if it repulsed. Then they went into two piles – one for further listening and possible/probable writeup, one for gifts to people I don’t really like. Want to guess which is larger? But I now have a stack of stuff that I have some confidence that I can pull something out of randomly and (hopefully) enjoy listening to. Or that’s the theory, anyways.

By : Frank Yang at 8:14 am
Category: Uncategorized
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