Review / photos: Tokyo Police Club shut down a slam-packed Crowbar in Ybor City
Have you had one of those days where things just don’t seem to make sense? Where circumstances just seem not so normal?
Well, welcome to Wednesday evening at Crowbar, where Tokyo Police Club played in front of a sold-out crowd. I was a bit under the weather during this show, and in my sniffly, coughing, aching, going-to-attempt-to-review-this-show mentality, I noticed a few situations that did not add up to be considered a 'normal evening’.
As I approached Crowbar, I was floored. The line for the door was literally wrapped around the corner and continued west down Eighth Avenue into the Centro Ybor area (about 100 yards total). I had expectations that this would be a sold-out show, but I have never seen a crowd stretched this far in line at Crowbar. Unfortunately, many hopefuls in this line were from out of town, as far as Miami, and they were turned away with no tickets remaining at the door. For the early birds that purchased tickets online, good thinking!
Now for the “Ummm, really?” factor of the evening. Two tour buses parked in front of Crowbar (a venue that regularly promotes and hosts concerts), doesn’t seem too strange. However, the City of Tampa’s parking enforcement apparently determined the buses were parked illegally, and both had visibly bright orange parking tickets on their large bus windshields. I don’t really know where they were supposed to park, but it seems like this should have been worked out ahead of time, like when Crowbar started booking larger acts. I see a City of Tampa vs. Crowbar chapter in the near future.
And for the “That’s pretty interesting,” moment of the night, when I entered Crowbar, I noticed a large handwritten sign notifying Crowbar occupants that “At the request of Tokyo Police Club, this would be a smoke free event.” No smoking inside Crowbar? You mean I won’t smell like ashtray when I leave? YAY! This could get interesting; especially for a crowd of this magnitude.
I then wiggled my way into the front door, past the 100-plus people still waiting outside, and peered into an already packed house of fans. Where did all of these people come from? By the looks of the line outside, you would think the doors were not even open yet. Not only were the doors open and allowing entry into the venue, it seemed to be already full. Everyone was just standing there claiming their land of stage-viewing concrete, waiting for the first act, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin, to take the stage.
This was not your normal opening act. The crowd, out of respect, or just plain love of the night, treated SSLYBY like a headliner. The four-piece band from Springfield, Mo., set the mood for the night, which never slowed down. I expected people to scurry to the bathroom or the bar for a cold beer. Amazingly, though, hardly anyone removed themselves from the stage area. Not even to smoke outside, as requested. Fans just weren’t smoking. Very few people were on the patio.
The second band, Two Door Cinema Club, came on soon after. The lead singer, Alex Trimble, had an awesome, Conan O’Brien-meets-Flock of Seagulls look, and killed the vocals. I was very impressed by the catchy, loud riffs and the powerful guitars in this band. The stage show was beyond awesome. Two Door Cinema Club, from Ireland, needs to play the states more often.
And to no one’s surprise, no one moved from the stage before Tokyo Police Club entered the room. Three bands straight, and there was just no thinning of the crowd or jostling for viewing spots. It seemed like I was attending a stand-in protest for a political movement.
Tokyo Police Club’s opening song, Favorite Colour, was dispatched to the sell out crowd, and I could barely get my camera to my face to snag my opening images. Everyone just snuggled together. Guitarist Josh Hook, started the opening sounds and for the next 15 songs, everyone just jammed out together.
The feel of Tokyo Police Club reminds me of a sludgy rock garage band gone indie. They were rough, but with purpose. The music has its melodic points and its heavy riffs, and their sound gets its original feel from Graham Wright’s keyboards and personable vocals with attitude by Dave Monks. Drums are provided by Greg Aslop.
Tampa put on a great show of respect for each song thrown to them, including a variety of music from both Elephant Shell (2008) and Champ (2010). The night was sealed up with Wait Up and Your English is Good. The fans didn’t want to end the night, but they definitely got their money’s worth. It seemed that after the show, everyone rushed to Seventh Avenue to scarf up some Ybor Pizza.
I think there had to have been some Crowbar records broken on this evening, but I need to confirm which ones. “Most plaid button-ups in one venue’ would be at least a runner-up.
If you were one of the many who slept on purchasing your tickets for this show, I truly hope you get the opportunity to see Tokyo Police Club in the future. The combination of all three of these strong bands playing together was a real plus, however, and that will be hard to capture again in such a nostalgic environment. Next time I just need to remember my can opener so I can move around inside.
— Review / photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*