This was my first time at the Meridian, and from what I had heard, I was a little worried that the whole management enjoyed bullying. This didn’t turn out to be the case for me. Though they checked bags thoroughly upon entry, they allowed me bring in my D50 with a 50mm prime attached. I later wondered what other goodies I could have managed (lenses, flashes that I don’t own) though all I really needed was a high-pressure hose to free space from the surrounding Tokyo Police FanClub. But that is neither here nor now.
The first act, White Denim, started pretty soon after doors opened. I think I always appreciate the energetic opening acts more than not. They were a funny, quirky trio, and their lead singer kept strumming his guitar until he had bloody nubs for fingers. And the bass player looked eleven. They were fun.
Next was Ra Ra Riot, who carefully set up sound checks on stage. RRR consists of six members, a lead singer, a guitarist, a bass guitarist, a cellist, a violinist, and a temporary drummer (since the tragic loss of their original drummer). The lead singer played electronic keyboard at times and almost every member had a tambourine, maracas, or a cowbell at some point in the show.
I had already heard their EP prior to the show, and it seemed ambitious to expect their show to have the similarly lush sound of the album. So I guess they exceeded my expectations. Not only did they produce a full, wonderful sound on stage (with even some musical embellishments not present on the album), their stage presence was phenomenal.
Every member, except for the drummer and cellist (for obvious reasons), filled up every corner of the stage. They jumped around, laughed, bumped into each other, embraced each other, even embraced the dead front row of TPC fanchildren. They did all of this without screwing up their sound or coming off as jackasses. It was one of the most alive and electric performances I’ve ever seen, even rivaling eccentric acts like Of Montreal. They were definitely the best opening act I’ve seen by miles, and in my opinion, they easily stole the show from TPC.
Which leads into Tokyo Police Club. They didn’t so carefully exhibit sound checks before playing. And it was quite painfully evident. They cleverly began with the first track of A Lesson In Crime. The guitar was way too loud, almost to an inaudible extent. Therefore the only melodic instrument capable of being heard was the lead singer’s grunting bass and voice. Yes, there was also a guy who pressed buttons on a fuzzy sounding keyboard, but from what I saw of their show (which admittedly isn’t that much), he seemed to opt more for the tambourine. Most tempos were about all the same with the exception of one or two keyboard/bass guitar ballads. About four or five songs in, my friend asked me if I wanted to leave. She completely read my mind.
On my way out, I saw the lead singer for RRR at the merch table. I decided (after being simply blown away by their act) that I might as well buy a T-shirt. It was tough enough trying to buy a shirt, much less actually holding a conversation with a RRR member due to the needlessly loud TPC show, so I ended up just purchasing a shirt, shaking his handing, trying to express my enjoyment of their show, and getting the hell out of there. All in all, a good night.