Activities Board announces Tokyo Police Club as headliner for fall concert

Tokyo Music Club has released two EPs and three full-length albums. (credit: Courtesy of Canvas Media) Tokyo Music Club has released two EPs and three full-length albums. (credit: Courtesy of Canvas Media) 1, 2, 3 is made up of Pittsburgh natives Josh Sickels and Nic Snyder. (credit: Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR) 1, 2, 3 is made up of Pittsburgh natives Josh Sickels and Nic Snyder. (credit: Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR)

A Mountie riding an elephant, the Japanese flag, and the initials “TPC”: These were the only clues the Activities Board provided on its posters as to the identity of the headlining band for its fall concert. While they might seem unrelated, these clues make sense once you know Tokyo Police Club is coming to perform at Carnegie Mellon on Nov. 12.

Tokyo Police Club is a Canadian band that released its first LP, Elephant Shell — hence the Mountie riding an elephant — in 2008, which Pitchfork noted in its review for its “consistently easy-on-the-ears sound.”

AB Concerts was first drawn to booking Tokyo Police Club because “they were really energetic,” said Lynn Streja, a senior studying human-computer interaction and information systems and a co-chair of AB Concerts. “Especially since it’s Pittsburgh and it’s winter and it’s cold, we really like to bring those high-energy shows.”

“We thought they were very marketable,” added Lyuba Zeylikman, a senior studying economics and psychology and the other co-chair of AB Concerts. “So we thought that people who did not hear them previously would be interested in them and ... hear their music when we play it on the Cut for them and be like, ‘Hey, this is cool, this is appealing to me.’”

The decision to book Tokyo Police Club was not a quick one, though. Zeylikman said, “The process sort of starts as soon as the spring [Carnival] show ends.” “I think even pretty early in the summer Lyuba and I were keeping in touch and sort of brainstorming,” Streja said. “We also made a priority to get in touch with our committee and to recruit new committee members over the summer.... We did try to get as much feedback and get as many ideas down as early in the year as possible.”

When planning the concert, “we try to take into consideration what, of course, we think will appeal to the student body,” Streja said. “AB as a whole has four different organizations [Concerts, Coffeehouse, Underground, and Skibo] that bring music to campus, and our group only has two concerts a year. They’re the biggest concerts, so we try to work on having a broad appeal, and obviously we also have a really restricted budget.”

Eventually, AB Concerts narrowed the list down to Tokyo Police Club because of the group’s energy and talent. “I also spoke to a lot of people who had seen them live and thought that the quality of their performance was really high and thought that they were super talented,” Streja said. “And that’s obviously something that’s really important to us — I mean, we try to balance getting that broad appeal with getting people that are super talented musicians, and that’s definitely something that we saw in them.”

So far, reception of the announcement has been mixed. “Tokyo Police Club is one of my favorite bands, and it’s really great that they’re coming here,” said Celine Berger, a sophomore undeclared H&SS student and an AB Underground chair.

Alex Price, a junior business major, was critical of AB’s choice, though. He described Tokyo Police Club as “very of-the-moment music that won’t have any meaning in 10 years.” He said, “AB’s had a lot better acts in the past. I think their goal for the bigger concerts should be getting someone who’s musically interesting... [meaning] they don’t sound the same as everyone else, they’re not just doing the same old thing.”

Squarely in between the two strong opinions is Chris Perrone, a senior electrical and computer engineering major. “I have heard of them, but I have never heard their music,” he admitted.

That’s okay with AB Concerts, though — “That’s exactly the kind of vibe we hope to get,” Streja said. “When we have this limited budget in the fall, a big thing is like you haven’t heard of the band, you listen to them, and then you get pumped and then you come [to the concert], so that’s something we try to build.”

Tokyo Police Club will be at Carnegie Mellon Nov. 12; the opening act will be a Pittsburgh rock group called 1, 2, 3.