Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians, and Harlem Shakes at Webster Hall on 2/25

Filed under concerts, music is my boyfriend

I went to see Tokyo Police Club at a sold out show at Webster Hall on Wednesday night. For the past year, this band has been my go-to when I want to listen to something fun and familiar. And you need a lot of fun and familiar in a mean city like New York, so I’ve listened to their album about 1500 times. I love the lyrics, I love the vocals, and I love how dorky their sound is. This post is entirely an excuse for me for share their music.

I love to be in the balcony of a ballroom when it’s one of those that wraps around both sides of the stage, because not only do you get to be right on top of the band, but you also get prime viewing of anything nasty that goes on below. Like Wednesday night, when a girl puked all over the hardwood floors. I noticed that a group of people below suddenly formed a big circle around a certain girl who was on her hands and knees and couldn’t figure out why no one was helping her up until one of the security guards shone a flashlight on her and her pool of vomit.

I tried to play it cool for a while, but I eventually turned to the guy beside me and said, “Don’t think me gross, but I have to take a picture of that.” He said, “I was thinking the same thing. It’s too good to ignore.” I said, “I especially can’t wait until someone thinks such an awesome spot just happens to be open and goes and stands right in it.” He said, “I’m going to interview the band right after the show, and that’s the first thing I’m going to talk to them about.” I said, “Rock journalist?! BFFs for life!”

The first band was Harlem Shakes, and I was excited about them for about three songs, because their singer sounds like he’s been sucking on helium. Once the novelty wore off, I mostly just watched their bassist, who was wearing white jeans, red socks, and no shoes.

The second band was Born Ruffians, who I had never listened to but was quite sure I would hate. I was under the impression that they were nu-punk in the tradition of AFI and Sum 41, and my suspicions were confirmed when their bassist walked out wearing a red and black plaid hoodie with the hood up over his long, stringy, curly hair. Sure, their singer was wearing a blazer over a sweater and had side-parted hair, but I would not be swayed.

But no!, they’re actually indie pop, and they’re actually great. Especially live. Their vocalist is AMAZING. Like, seriously, I haven’t been so stoked while hearing a band perform for the first time since I saw Crystal Stilts a year ago. I was getting chills and all sorts of shit. The studio recordings don’t even begin to capture what was going on, but you should still listen to

“Badonkadonkey” and
“Foxes Mate for Life” and

And look how cute!
Although the drummer last night was black. WTF?

Tokyo Police Club came out and started playing some song I didn’t know, and I was like, “Oh, crap, they have a new album that I don’t know about!” But no, it was one of their old songs. And their old songs are not good. I love their album Elephant Shell like nobody’s business, but it sounds like a totally different band playing on their EPs. You have been warned. My favourites are

“Listen to the Math” and
“In a Cave” and

TPC’s singer lifts one leg when he plays, and their keyboardist pretty much has epileptic fits every ten seconds, and their fans were so into the music it was crazy. Even the stodgy record label types across the balcony from me were drumming their fingers on the railing. Even the 16-year-olds in frilly cocktail dresses were pumping their fists. Ahhhhhhhhh, the uniting power of music.

Speaking of which, for the encore, TPC brought out Born Ruffians for a brand new song that they collaborated on, which sounded much better live than it does here, but still, I’m glad someone got a video of it:

And then all three bands came out for a little Clash (also not my video):

Good times.


  1. Tracey says:

    Doesn’t it make you feel great that the graffiti wall we too pictures in front of is WAY better than the Born Ruffians’ graffiti wall?

  2. Emily says:

    Ok, first of all, TPC’s first EP was and still is AWESOME (which I’ve been saying since 2006). “Citizens of Tomorrow” is still one of my favorite songs evar. So you are wrong, Katie Ett.

    Secondly, I agree with you about Born Ruffians. Their publicist is also the shit.

    Thirdly, this post makes me miss going to see live music. DO YOU HEAR THAT, KATIE ETT? You actually make me want to like music again!

    • I’m sorry that you have such terrible taste in music, but no, it’s actually horrible. And I would listen to it again right now to remind myself of how bad it is if only my work computer with all of my music didn’t have 13 viruses and wasn’t in the hands of our IT department.

      I would like to know Born Ruffians. Please make it happen, thx.

      Thirdly, after you mentioned it, this post actually made ME excited about live music, too. I’ve been searching out great concerts since and have actually bought tickets to a couple of them despite the online Ticketmaster surcharge.