Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, San Sebastian
Saturday, September 26, 2010
Crocks, Thunder Bay

by Michelle McChristie, photography by Darren McChristie

It was a night when you had to hold your own on the dance floor. Last night, Crocks hosted a sold out show with San Sebastian, The Arkells and Tokyo Police Club. As the crowd filtered into the bar, people staked their territory and held their ground.

Sans Sebastian warms up the crowd at Crocks

San Sebastian, a group of two sets of brothers and their mutual friend, Ted, got the party started with their youthful brand of indie rock. For a group that has only been together since late 2008, their stage presence was impressive and their songs were upbeat and catchy. Mike Veerman, lead vocals and guitar, formed an immediate bond with the crowd and focused on building anticipation for the Arkells and Tokyo Police Club in between songs from their latest album, Wake Up.

Frontman Max Kerman of The Arkells

Also from Hamilton, but with two extra years of practice and performing under their belts, the Arkells are a five-piece band that blends blues with indie rock, spiced up with Motown-style rhythm and soulful lyrics belted out by Max Kerman. Their style is raw and their performance was hard hitting, punctuated by drummer, Tim Oxford’s, energetic and unrelenting rhythm.

The Arkells

They had a lot of fans in the crowd, who joined in on songs from their album Jackson Square, including “Ballad of Hugo Chavez” and “John Lennon.” A highlight was their cover of Elvis Costello’s  “Pump it Up”, a rhythm that blended seamlessly into the Arkells’ set list.

Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club

After what seemed like a lengthily set up, headliners Tokyo Police Club hit the stage. Tokyo Police Club formed in 2005 and has since released two full-length albums, Elephant Shell (2008) and Champ (2010). The quartet hails from Newmarket and was at the top of the Earshot chart this past summer. Their aggressive tour of Canada and the states included a stop on the Late Show with David Letterman (their second performance on the show).
With sharp intensity, Tokyo Police Club captivated the crowd and crammed as many fast-paced and high-impact tunes as possible into their set. The crowd responded enthusiastically with fist pumping and crowd surfing (a dicey act, considering the low hung stage lights). At the end, they ripped into an encore, with some help from Arkells front man, Max Kerman.

Bassist Dave Monks

They played “My Name is Jonas,” a song they no doubt perfected during their international 2008 tour in which they opened for Weezer. Delivering a powerful live show, Tokyo Police Club captivated the crowd and left them satisfied, if not exhausted.

It was an exhilarating night and there was no denying the energy and momentum of all three bands.

The crowd responds enthusiastically

Tokyo Police Club performs for a sold-out show at Crocks