Sunday, October 14, 2007

It hung in air like a school cheer: the New Pornographers ramp things up

There may be only seven New Pornographers sheepishly hiding their eyes in this picture, but this weekend at Mac Ballroom, all eight new Pornos (including the apparently camera-shy Dan Bejar) were on stage. It was the first time I had seen the full lineup, and I must say that the addition of Neko Case, with her powerhouse vocals and gorgeous cascading red hair, and Dan Bejar, with his incredibly unique voice and awesome crazy-assed hair, really made a world of difference.

Don't get me wrong, Kathryn Caldor has a really lovely voice and Carl Newman, well he sort of is the New Pornos, isn't he, but the full compliment was something extra special.

The night opened with a happy chatty set from Emma Pollack (formerly of the Delgados), a lovely Scot with a good loud four-piece band. Her songs were fine, but it was her chatter that I loved to hear. She was sweet and funny and told us things like "We got daisperately daisperately droonk last naight" in her awesome brogue. And she kept taking pictures of us, which was really kind of sweet.

The New Pornographers have a fancy new lighted sign which graced the back of the stage and when it finally started flashing, everybody got pretty excited. And it was a rollicking good show. I had seen the New Pornographers in concert a couple of times before, but never featuring the complete band, and I remember thinking on those other occasions that a couple of songs really needed Neko Case's input to hits those heights. Thankfully we got that on Friday night. And since the new album, the Challengers, also features quite a number of Dan Bejar songs, I was really thankful that he was in attendance as well. Nobody sings a Dan Bejar song like Dan Bejar. In fact ever since seeing him at the Sled Island Music Festival (as Destroyer but without the rest of Destroyer) I have been itching to see him perform again.

I thought the sound was a little off on Friday night, a trifle muddy. Perhaps Mac Ballroom is too small a venue for the likes of a huge band with a huge sound like the New Pornographers. But when they played songs like The Bleeding Heart Show, which always makes me die a little with happiness, especially with Neko to sing those big parts that really need someone with her pipes, well, it was fucking exquisite.

Nobody does a big bold pop song with building intensities, boy-girl harmonies, and call and response catharsis quite like the New Pornographers. I know that some of you are going to be seeing the New Pornos in the next couple of weeks, and let me just say that you are in for a treat.

Dance your fool heads off for me.

The Bleeding Heart Show.mp3 (the hey la hey las just kill me)
Myriad Harbour.mp3 (Dan Bejar's quirky voice at its finest)
Mass Romantic.mp3 (the song that started it all)

Favourite indie kid: the 9 foot tall lad who hopped up and down all night long, pumping his fist into the air a little bit every time he got really excited. That's the way to enjoy a concert. Rock on, indie boy!


Ocean Renderings said...

How was Dan Bejar? In Victoria he was supposed to have been crazy drunk and would just up and walk off the stage. That said, the concert was a massive hit. I'm trying to start a petition that demands musical groups are not allowed to perform Monday through Thursday in Victoria. How the heck am I supposed to attend when I'm working? Not fair.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Ocean Renderings, welcome!

Dan sort of wandered onto the stage to do his songs (which he did really well) but would then disappear for the rest of the set. He didn't seem too drunk, but I was fairly far away.

While you are at your petitioning, please put something in their demanding that they all be all-ages shows.

John Mutford said...

I like the New Pornographers, but I'm a much larger fan of Neko Case. I'd have loved to have seen this show!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Neko Case was pretty spectacular, John. It was great to see her in a rocker, as opposed to an alt country role. She was amazing.

Dale said...

Sounds like an awesome show Barbara and I'm glad you had a good time.

Before I knew Neko and when I first heard the Pornos, my first thought was wow, who's that girl? Now I love them both, separately and together.

She's Crafty said...

Sounds like a lovely night - kind of expected though hey, all that talent on one stage!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

"Equal, but they're different, they're equal but they're different" .. Oh sorry, got carried away on the Gang of Four lyrics there, Dale. Yes, I remember having the same thought about the first New Pornos song (Mass Romantic) that I heard. Neko just blew me away.

You've got that right, Serah, the New Pornos wrote the definition of Supergroup.

Bubs said...

ounds great. I'll have to look for them. I feel kind of stupid that I've never managed to see Neko Case.

Danny Tagalog said...

Oh lucky you - listening to she, formerly of the Delgadoes whwn all around me is Blunt mediocrity and hyped up Avril Latrine.

Good on you! Roll on freedom coming soon. I'll check out more gigs later next year...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And she probably lives just down the street from you too, Bubs. She's going to come over and kick your but some day.

I should have known you would be familiar with the Delgadoes, Danny. Don't worry, the Blunts and Lavignes will go away eventually. I am looking forward to hearing about your concert going soon!

Beth said...

Excellent show review, Barbara. Glad I waited until after I saw the kids to read your post.