A little over 10 years ago, four lads formed a post-punk band in Newmarket, Ontario, apparently threw some random words together for a name, and published their first EP, A Lesson in Crime.
Those Canadian gents are Tokyo Police Club, and that first EP had some legs, as songs like “Cheer It On,” “Nature of the Experiment,” and “Citizens of Tomorrow” thrive on the concert circuit and Internet indie rock stations alike. If you know Tokyo Police Club, you certainly know “Cheer It On” with its shout-along refrain that finds the audience yelling out the band’s name to punctuate a jangly rush of guitar chords. And of course that is exactly what happened at the Black Cat, to the joy of everyone.
Given the 10th anniversary of “A Lesson in Crime,” Tokyo Police Club set it out tour in celebration of their first EP, playing their new stuff but also playing that first record in its entirety. Tokyo Police Club came to Black Cat on Sunday to an enthusiastic crowd who cheered madly for songs old and new, and frontman David Monks and company cheerily delivered them.
Tokyo Police Club also came equipped with new material in the form of two EPs released last year — Parts One and Two of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Radness, the name a play on the famous album by the Smashing Pumpkins. Promptly after the release of the first half of the collection via Dine Alone, Tokyo Police Club played at the 9:30 Club and then kept touring through the release of the second part some five months later.
The band weighted the beginning of their set with this new material, opening with jaunty songs like “Not My Girl,” “My House,” and “PCH.” Despite the romantic yearnings of “Not My Girl,” it maintains that signature carefree attitude found in most every song by Tokyo Police club.
In the hands of another band, the lyrical content of “My House” could be mournful or even sinister, but someone screaming their heart out near the narrator’s house serves more as a point of curiosity than pain for Tokyo Police Club. And “PCH” is as breezy as you would guess a song named after Southern California’s favorite highway would be.
All in all, the new songs show remarkable consistency over the 10 or more years Tokyo Police Club have been recording. You’ll thoroughly enjoy them and perhaps recognize a mellowing of the Tokyo Police Club oeuvre. The band close out the show with encores that include other bright favorites — “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” from 2010’s Champ and “Your English Is Good” from 2008’s “Elephant Shell.” There’s always a wry smile or two waiting around the corner of a Tokyo Police Club song.
Tokyo Police Club wrap their US tour tomorrow at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before closing out with a few more dates in Canada. It’s a good time to see them and experience the spectrum of their career in one neat show. Given how productive the gents have been lately, I suspect Tokyo Police Club will be back again before we know it.
Here are some more pictures of David Monks of Tokyo Police Club performing at the Black Cat on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.