Sunday, February 19, 2006

It was good for me
I've got to tell you about the New Pornographers concert last night, but first let me say this:

This Winnipeg band opened the night and they pretty much blew me away. I had never heard of them before, but they were exactly what I had hoped that the We Are Scientists cd that I bought the other day would sound like, but didn't. (I'll get into that more in a future post)

Novillero was energetic, tight, and diverse. They looked like they were having a hell of a good time, and they sure made me have one. I particularly loved Rather Chubby Tamourine Guy. He did nothing but sing back-up (on the Sloan-esque ba-da-bas) and play tambourine, but did he ever play the hell out that tambourine! The dedication to tambourine-playing was astounding to witness.
After the show, Eva offered to buy their cd, while I stood in the coat-check line. As luck would have it, Rather Chubby Tamourine Guy was working the merch table and he was just so pleased that she wanted to buy their cd: "Are you serious? " was his reaction.
I noticed that Novillero thanked John K Samson and the Weakerthans on their liner notes, and hey, if it's good enough for my close personal friend JFK, it's good enough for me. Okay, maybe he's not my CPF, but I did get his autograph once and stalked him for a day. And the Weakerthans did introduce me to the Constantines.

Here's a review I found of the cd I bought:
Novillero — Aim Right For the Holes in Their Lives
They combine the creative indie pop that Canadian bands have perfected over the last five years with a more muscular garage rock feel. They sound like a band unafraid to brave a ferocious Prairie winter, as opposed to fey Vancouverites dodging raindrops.

Sadly, Neko Case was not in the line-up last night. And while I loved NP, we did notice her absence. Here's her picture just to show you what we missed, and, incidentally, it's her voice that really makes her great.

The songs that really showcased Neko, such as Mass Romantic and Bleeding Heart Show really did suffer from her absence. Cathryn Calder did an admirable job of picking up her parts, but she just doesn't have the power in her voice to quite pull it off. That said, she performed beautifully on songs like Bones of an Idol, on which she originally sang. She was letter-perfect on that one.
One nice surprise was the song Streets of Fire, which I have never really cared for, but last night, after having it introduced as a campfire song, it made sense. That's part of the power of live performance.
One of the problems with having a collective, of course, is everybody has side projects. I have heard of some people who have seen Broken Social Scene seven times and have never seen Leslie Feist among them.
The sound seemed oddly flat at times, perhaps something that should have been picked up at sound-check, but generally NP rocked with most of my favourites. And Carl Newman is so adorable. He now tops my list of favourite Ginger-haired Rock Stars Who Look like Accountants. (Thom Yorke doesn't count, as he does not look like an accountant. An orderly in a mental hospital perhaps. Or an IT guy.)
From my angle, I wasn't really able to see Kurt Dahle smoke pot as he drummed, but Eva assured me he was able to pull it off. How exactly do you smoke pot while playing drums? I guess it's like anything else: practice, practice, practice.
Of course there were the usual 8-foot guys who stand in front of you, and last night there was also the addition of 8-foot-guys-with-massive-heads-who-kept-putting-their-heads-together-to-chat. Chat later, for fuck's sake! There was also Intense Dancing Guy, but I didn't mind him as a) he was short and b) he was obviously enjoying the music. In fact at one point I noticed that Intense Dancing Guy and I were the only ones singing in our neighbourhood.

Ted, whom I had the good fortune to meet at the show last night, along with his lovely girl friend Tina, has some really great concert photos posted - please check them out. I will definitely keep going to New Pornographers concerts, and one day I will see Neko Case. And then I can die happy.


Sean S. said...

Yes Tambourine Guy!

I saw these guys last year here in Saskatoon Tambourine Guy comes out, stands stage centre and just plays like a maniac, he didn't even sing.

So every song we keep waiting to see what he is going to do.. is he going to sing? pick up another instrument? nope, nothing...he just plays his tambourine like its on fire...

We laughed so hard over this guy (yes the rest of the band is tight and awesome) and still do every once in awhile.

I did some research into it after the show and it turns out Tambourine Guy is the band manager (or something like that) and they let him on stage most nights...pretty cool...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Yes, he plays it like it's on fire, that's a perfect description, Sean! Was he wearing a big truck driver's key chain from front to back pocket as well when you saw him? I thought maybe he also drove the van, and if he's the manager, perhaps he does. I sure liked Novillero, though, and am making them one of my pet projects in my quest to introduce Canadian music to the world - something you do admirably yourself I must say.

Kellee said...


Kellee said...

PS: I just DON'T understand why you didn't invite me up to see the bands you've gotten me hooked on! ha! Actually, you probably had your personal safety in mind, as I am a jinx lately! ;)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Kellee, you are a lot braver than I gave you credit for, if you even think about making another winter trip to the land that's out to get you. (Remember, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you)

Teddy said...

Tambourine guy also played some keyboards (with his back to the audience).

And I'm pretty sure that Kurt wasn't smoking up... I saw him puffing. Way too much smoke, and too cylindrical a stick. But hey, what do I know about such things...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Ted, I must have had 8-foot guy in front of me during Tambourine Guy's keyboard debut.