Tokyo Police Club @ The Slowdown, Omaha, NE, 3/16/09

In Omaha, Saddle Creek Records is a big presence in the world of music. Hometown heroes like Conor Oberst spring to mind, but the real gems of Saddle Creek — Tokyo Police Club — played at the Slowdown on March 16th. Openers Ruby Coast and Ra Ra Riot had their entertaining moments, but were not altogether that impressive. When Ontario-based Tokyo Police Club took the stage, they played entirely to the audience, as if they were having an ton of fun, and it proved to be a winning approach.

Performing almost their entire discography, Tokyo Police Club played with an enthusiasm and energy for the “hometown” crowd that stood out from past Slowdown shows. Lead singer Dave Monks’ constant smile and innocent warble lent itself to a joyous, uplifting concert that left the audience literally cheering for more. The Slowdown is a relaxed, intimate venue, and it was the perfect atmosphere for Tokyo Police Club to shine. Drummer Greg Alsop is a gifted percussionist, and frequently his contributions overshadowed those of his bandmates. The thumping beats made the show lively and fun, not just one with mere head-bobbing. The groups has had a reputation of being rather hit-or-miss live, but if this show was any indicator, they were certainly a hit.

Playing almost every tune in their arsenal, picking a standout proves to be rather difficult, but “Tessellate,” “Your English is Good,” and “Juno” were certainly the most well-received, not to mention their closing song, “Be Good.” For the last song in their brief encore, the rest of the musicians who had opened for them came out on stage with Tokyo Police Club to finish the set, playing actual and makeshift instruments along with them. Packing eleven musicians onto the cozy Slowdown stage was a tight fit, but the camaraderie and exuberance was something to remember. All in all, Tokyo Police Club put on a fun and professional set that was worth the lackluster opener.