There was a moment when it looked like the Tokyo Police Club show was not going to end well.

It came about half way through Charly Bliss’ set. The New York City four-piece was ripping through its small but solid catalog, playing ‘90s-style alt-rock that owed its songwriting to Weezer, Elastica or Sonic Youth. The band is fronted by Eva Hendricks. At Union Transfer, she was dressed like a figure skater in a swishy skirt and matching blue top, pouring energy and charm into the set. Her voice is gentle, almost too gentle against the band’s heavy guitar riffs and driving punk drums, but her presence was unparalleled. She bounced, screamed, stomped her feet, posed and did so without an ounce of self-consciousness. As the band played through tracks from its 2014 EP, Soft Serve, Hendricks won the crowd over. We moved from passive observers to a mass of people that wanted the band to succeed. As they locked in to their last two songs, Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox stood back-to-back, like they were reenacting a semi-famous Pearl Jam poster.

As this is happened, I realized there weren’t many people at the show. Union Transfer in Philadelphia is a 1,200-person venue. It was early, but 30 minutes into the show, the venue was only one-quarter full. Even as From Indian Lakes, the show’s middle band, took the stage and the crowd’s energy continued to pick up, the venue still looked mostly empty.

From Indian Lakes had a different energy than either Charly Bliss or Tokyo Police Club. Whereas those bands traffic in youthful catharsis, From Indian Lakes deals more in mood and atmosphere. The six-man band played a deliberate, even tempo style of indie rock that sounded like a cross between Band of Horses and Interpol. Its first two songs were hindered by sound issues—guitars feeding back more than they should, lead vocals buried under guitar-and-keyboard textures—but 15 minutes later, the band’s spell set in. Its members, paced by band leader Joey Vannucchi, had a passive presence. They weren’t still, but they seemed more interested in letting their swelling keyboard tones and ethereal vocals do the heavy lifting. They made for an interesting and unexpected pallet cleanser.

The venue was half-full before Tokyo Police Club took the stage, the bulk of the audience on the floor in front of the stage in the under-21 section. The abundance of space in the room felt like confirmation of a generally accepted narrative surrounding the band. It goes something like this: as one of the original blog-buzz bands of the early aughts, the group peaked in terms of its trendiness with the release of Elephant Shell in 2008. Two years later, it would reach its creative peak with the excellent Champ. In 2014, the band released Forcefield, a record seemingly aimed at broadening its audience while dulling down its more exciting elements. Between the slowly-filling room and the mismatch of opening acts, one can’t help but wonder who comes to see Tokyo Police Club in 2016. What does this band’s fan base look like?

The moment the band took the stage these questions became unimportant. It’s easy to forget that, despite being a band for over a decade, Tokyo Police Club is made up of young men. The experience makes them capable, captivating performers. The youth makes them charming, easy to root for. Within its first five songs, the band had already touched on every aspect of its career: opening with “Cheer it On” from 2006’s A Lesson In Crime EP and sprinting to Forcefield highlight “Miserable,” it was clear that the band isn’t worried about notions of when it had the most cache, when they were the most popular. Its 18-song set reached far corners of every release, including forthcoming tracks from a pending 2016 EP.

More than that, though, was the crowd’s reaction to all this music. Regardless of the song or the era, the engaged crowd—mostly under 21, and split closely between men and women—reacted as if they were hearing their favorite songs. Some tracks got more love than others (“End of Spark” and “Bambi” both got especially big pops), but throughout, the show was a dance party, on stage and in front. The band’s music, dependent on smooth layering of keyboard synthesizers and guitar riffs, filled every crack in the room, sounding more full live than it does on record. The room never felt empty.

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