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Tokyo Police Club plays no frills set at Hofstra USA

By Aaron Calvin, Assistant Entertainment Editor

In the world of indie music, the live show is an integral part of a band's development. In fact, it's one of the ways Tokyo Police Club garnered their success. So when the band took the stage on Friday at Hofstra USA, I expected a show that reflected the vibrancy and energy of their recordings. In many ways, I was not disappointed.

A large part of the band's live show was their directness. This was a welcome aspect after the opening band, Night Fevers, put on a show full of radio-ready music and every rock n' roll performance cliché in the book.Tokyo Police Club came on stage promptly after the opening band's gear was taken off, thanked the audience, told them it was good to be there and just got on with it. There was no banter, no conversation with the audience. They simply got up and played.

As far as quality goes, their performance had a high level of fidelity to their recordings. There was plenty of energy on stage. The lead singer bounced around and his hair sloshed about, while the rest of the band played with both intensity and accuracy. They were acutely aware of their audience, sticking with more of the exciting numbers from both their debut EP's and their two LP's while leaving their slower going material at the wayside.

In today's world of over-orchestrated performances with every other act trying to win over crowds with flamboyance and persona, Tokyo Police Club's show was refreshingly free of pretension. There were no stage antics, no overwrought pleas for crowd participation. They simply performed as a group of guys who enjoy performing their music for others.

Everything was reproduced live exactly as it was on their albums.  While it was interesting to hear a band reproduce their recorded sound live, it held its disadvantages. Often the draw of seeing a band live lies in being surprised and witnessing something only available through their live show.

The crowd was modest compared to last fall's Girl Talk show, but they were attentive attentive and the band didn't seem deterred in the least. The crowd was evenly split between people running around with glitter on their faces, dancing and singing along with the songs, and a more conservative section that was content to watch and listen. Most of the crowd surfing and excitement stayed toward the front of the crowd, leaving the back undisturbed.

Tokyo Police Club's performance was commendable in many respects. Their unique brand of songwriting was complimented by their unadorned and organic live performance. By the end of the show, the band had proved that they deserved their rise past buzz band status as well as their staying power.

Tokyo Police Club made their L.I. debut at Hofstra (Sean M. Gates/ The Chronicle)

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