Tokyo Police Club / The Arkells Club 9ONE9, Victoria BC October 3

Tokyo Police Club / The Arkells Club 9ONE9, Victoria BC October 3
Full disclosure: I'd only casually heard Toronto indie rockers Tokyo Police Club before finding myself in line with them on a Victoria pier waiting for fish and chips. Strange how 20 minutes in a lineup can transform a passing interest in a band to rocking out in the front row of their show only hours later.

Hamilton, ON's the Arkells started the night off with their no-frills rock, full of the kind of unbridled energy usually reserved for the last show of a tour... wait, this was their last show of the tour. Lead vocalist/guitarist Max Kerman was particularly hyper, punching the club's low ceiling and toying with the crowd between songs. The band's infectious rowdiness emphasized a large, full sound that was oftentimes pedestrian, but always enjoyable. And since this Victoria date finished a lengthy tour with Tokyo Police Club, their set ended in an extended stroke-off, with members of TPC joining them onstage for an elaborate mystery meat dance party.

Tokyo Police Club are the most adorable group of ragamuffins. Nice, genuine guys in fish and chips lineups, but once onstage, they take the form of large, human-like stuffed animals. Or maybe it was all of the young girls in the crowd making huggy motions towards the band that had me confused. Either way, they started their set off strong with "Nature of the Experiment," from their 2006 debut EP, A Lesson in Crime, and reached a sinewy fever pitch around four songs in with "Graves," from Elephant Shell. Singer/bassist Dave Monks was a focal point, flipping his hair and rocking out to the band's lock-step grooves, but it was guitarist Josh Hook who stole ears with his unrelenting shoegaze guitar and fierce concentration. And I appreciate that drummer Greg Alsop played most of the set with his eyes closed. Bonus points for that.

Over the hour-long set, those in attendance were treated to Tokyo Police Club mainstays like "Your English Is Good," "Tesselate," and "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)," including many songs from their latest album, Champ. Everyone with a pulse danced and jumped their asses off. Add to that a ramped-up encore of Weezer's "My Name Is Jonas" and this ended up being the best show that ever started in a fish and chips lineup.