Tokyo Police Club Olympic Community Hall, Halifax NS, October 22

Tokyo Police Club Olympic Community Hall, Halifax NS, October 22
Photo: Ali Seglins
Tokyo Police Club have something of a standing residency at the Halifax Pop Explosion. They played the festival in 2010… and then in 2012… and now, in 2014. Vocalist David Monks made note of the tradition at Wednesday night's show: "It's a bit of a ritual for us."

Rituals can be filled with meaning, or they can feel routine. The band made a strong case for the meaning side of the equation to start, opening with Forcefield's "Argentina" suite that encapsulates everything that, at their best, Tokyo Police Club do well: cheeky lyrics, shoulder-swaying hooks and a fuzzy, nostalgic guitar sound that crackles with energy. From there, though, things got a bit more scattered: the band's run-through of songs like "Breakneck Speed" and "Toy Guns" was competent but played like a comedown in comparison.

To my ears, things picked up again with a loud, forceful take on Forcefield rocker "Gonna Be Ready," but the crowd didn't really get back into the spirit of things until single "Hot Tonight," a song I confess I find to be a trifle; it sounded like it, too, all tinny and hollow. Thankfully, the band leveraged that momentum well, building on it with a great take on "One More Night" and finishing out the set with inspired takes on crowd-pleasers "Frankenstein" and "Juno."