I feel like a broken record saying this, but I have been incredibly lucky with lineups this year. Meaning, I have seen more than a few shows where every single band playing has been stellar. The latest was a little spontaneous, as the original opener, The Meligrove Band, had to drop out of the western tour dates due to vehicular problems. But instead of just leaving it with Tokyo Police Club and Arkells, they had to replace them. With We Are The City. I hate to admit, I was a little on the fence on the show, but as soon as I heard that, I knew I was going.
We Are The City was up first, and you could tell they were thrilled to be there, both at the commodore and part of the bill. They played a short set of their usual prog rock, bursting with energy, as all three of them seemed on top of their game, even though Andy seemed to have a bit of a hoarse voice. At one point they brought out a unique stage prop... the entire front grill of their car, which was in an accident earlier that day (between that & Meligrove Band's troubles, I'm starting to wonder...), and left it in front of Cayne for the rest of the set. I've mentioned before, but it's been really cool to see the band grow over the last year or so, and I will be sad to see David depart the band, but interested to see where they go from here.
Next up was, admittedly, the band I was looking forward to most of the night, Arkells. Besides a short set during the olympics which didn't have the greatest sound, I hadn't seen the Hamilton fivesome in almost a year. The set consisted mostly of songs from their debut, Jackson Square, but they teased a new album with a brand new song that sounded great. Very Arkellsesque, yet not so much like their old stuff as to seem repetitive. They engaged the crowd excellently, especially during "Oh, The Boss Is Coming", which had everyone shout the eponymous line, and then the back and forth "punching in/punching out". A couple times they enlisted the help of TPC member Graham Wright for saxophone, and after giving shout outs to the rest of the bands -- as well as the ones represented in the audience -- they brought Tokyo Police Club up to help out with the final song, John Lennon. Slipping in the now-usual "Eleanor Rigby" lines, they even splitting the stage/crowd between "look at all the lonely people" and "where do they all come from?" They have such raw energy and passion, and the whole band has a confidence to them that makes them one of the best live bands I have had the pleasure of seeing. I can't wait until the new album and/or they come back.
That right there would have been a show worthy of my monies, but there was still Tokyo Police Club to come! They hit the stage with an energy to match, if not surpass, the level set by the other two bands, getting everyone in the crowd into the set. With the infectious levels of enthusiasm, and the incredibly tight sound they've cultivated, I don't think there was a single person there not singing, dancing, or [off-beat] clapping along; they certainly know how to work a crowd. They focused on the new album, but of course played some old favourites, too, before bringing the set to an "end" with a little help from Arkells, then came back out with a cover of Weezer's "My Name is Jonas", and blasting through "Cheer It On", leaving the crowd exhausted.