SSLYBY kicked their set off with “Back in the Saddle,” the Southern-tinged opener from last year’s “Let It Sway,” showing themselves early on as a group with control and a mastery of dynamics. The two belted through the distorted blasts at the song’s start before easing into the gentle, irresistibly catchy harmonies in the bridge.
But even when they kicked into the breezy pep of “Sink/Let It Sway,” the audience remained fairly unenthused. Not even the sly groove of “House Fire” or the druggy punk energy of “I Am Warm and Powerful” could elicit widespread excitement. And it didn’t help that La Zona Rosa couldn’t eliminate the high-pitched, persistent feedback emanating from one of the microphones, even as the band kept their composure and expert musicianship.
But with just a few simple bass notes at the start of Tokyo Police Club’s “Nature of the Experiment,” the audience erupted. Later in the song, when frontman Dave Monks waved his hand in the air, the crowd screamed again.
Still, Tokyo Police Club gave a good showing, moving through songs from albums past as well as last year’s most recent release, “Champ.” The band even gave the crowd a taste of new material, playing a song in which Monks sang about his top five kisses over melancholy tropical instrumentation in the vein of Vampire Weekend. Technical difficulties and lackluster audience responses aside, it was a night of solid indie pop performances.