Friday, July 16, 2010

The New Pornographers @ The Vogue -- 07/15/10

I feel as if the Indie Rock Gods were rewarding the hardcore New Pornographer fans. Last nights sold out show was the first one announced, then they added a second show, for the night before. Well, for the first (but really the second) show, something went wrong and Neko Case couldn't make it. But she was out in full force last night!

First up, though, was Imaad Wasif, from Vancouver. He had an intriguing sound, kind of a psychedelic, stoner rock that had an ebb and flow to it; sometimes being soft and slow, something going crazy rocking out. At times it was impressive that such a bombastic sound came from only four people -- guitar, bass, drums and violin -- but the set seemed to drag on a little much, as I think he was on for over 45 minutes. He also seemed very enamoured with love, stating how every song was about love (and possibly longing) and at one point saying how love was the most important thing in the universe. Nothing wrong with love, of course, but he just seemed very up on it. And aside from that, there wasn't much by way of stage banter. All four of them had a pretty good presence and energy while playing, but Wasif didn't have much to say between songs other than the usual "thanks for coming/the [opening band] for having us"

The Dodos were next up, and immediately I say wow! They were just three members strong, but an interesting setup. One on guitar, one on drums (with no bass drum, but a tambourine taped to his shoe), and one who played the vibraphone and a floor tom (Sometimes simultaneously). And on top of that, he was occasionally playing the vibraphone with a bow.
They had a more indie pop sound to them, and a nice variety of more slower, folky numbers and faster, rocking out ones. All of which were highly infectious and catchy, and any other night they may have stole the show. For their final song they played "Fables", which I immediately recognized, but for the life of me I am not sure where from.

And the, finally, The New Pornographers. They hit the stage nine large, as the the gang was all there. Opening with the awesome "Myriad Harbour", they immediately got everyone out of their seats and singing along. From there they spanned a good variety of their catalogue, spanning all five albums. Among the highlights was the highly energetic "Your Hands (Together)", Bejar's stunning "Execution Day" and "My Shepherd", which made me fall even more in love with Case's voice (if possible). And let's not forget Kathryn Calder, who had "Sweet Talk Sweet Talk" to spotlight her amazing pipes. Though the one song that I was disappointed they didn't play was "Adventures In Solitude", which is one of my favourites and would have been another showcase for Calder. And as for Newman, he makes it all just seem so effortless.
They also had, as usual, some hilarious banter which included, but was not limited to: a battle of wits with the bro show at the front (which was pretty one-sided). Neko Case spotting a shirtless man with "bigger boobs than [her]", which led to a rant about how HE could bare his chest in public, yet SHE could not. And then, when the prerequisite odour and smoke wafting on stage, the band mocking those responsible for not even trying to hide it -- Case likening it to survival of the fittest and taunting a T-Rex.
The set ended with what may be my favourite New Pornos song, "The Bleeding Heart Show", which was just amazing live. Then they came out for an encore which consisted of two more of my favourites; first the beautiful "Challengers", then Bejar coming back out for "A Testament To Youth In Verse", which saw them look to the crowd for a few of the "No no no..." verses, and even though the crowd was slow to pick up on, we were belting it out by the end, before they exploded into the finale. A superb ending for the show.

My only complaint would be that the sound in the place seemed a little loud, especially the vocals. But it was only enough to be noticeable, and not enough to be annoying. What was annoying though was the dickbag who, between every song, would yell "Where's Bejar?" (sometimes "amusingly" pronouncing it bay-jar) at the top of his lungs. At first he was ignored, then yelled at by the crowd, then mocked by the band, especially when he yelled it when Bejar was on stage. But aside from that, it was a brilliant show from Vancouver's own The New Pornographers.

Setlist:
Myriad Harbour, What Turns Up In The Dark, Sing me Spanish Techno, Crash Years, Jackie Dressed in Cobras, The Laws Have Changed, My Rights Versus Yours, Twin Cinema, Jackie, Sweet Talk Sweet Talk, All The Old Showstoppers, Go Places, The Moves, Your Hands (Together), Execution Day, My Shepherd, Use It, Silver Jenny Dollar, Letter From An Occupant, The Bleeding Heart Show.
[encore] Challengers, Testament to Youth In Verse.

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