Live Review: New Pornographers at The Waiting Room Lounge

The New Pornographers are, from left, Neko Case, Blaine Thurier, Todd
Fancey, Kathryn Calder, Carl Newman, Kurt Dahle and John Collins.

In the battle of “what Canadian indie rock band should I go see Thursday,” the New Pornographers were the victor.

As mentioned yesterday, I saw The Rural Alberta Advantage twice at South By Southwest. As much as I really love to see that band live, the idea of seeing the NPs in a smaller room like the Waiting Room was one I couldn’t pass up.

I’m glad I went. The Waiting Room was packed (the show sold out sometime last week) and seeing the band in a smaller environment was a treat.

The seven-member band played a great set, which included most of the band’s latest album, “Together,” and plenty of old stuff. Since band member Dan Bejar wasn’t present (he’s out touring with Destroyer), they skipped the songs he wrote or was a major part of. But that left most of their material open for performance.

Neko Case was there, and I’ve always thought (along with everyone else in the world, probably) that her vocals add a great layer of depth to the band’s bouncy pop rock. Even better is the fact that Kathryn Calder shares most singing parts with Case. Their great voices definitely amp up the experience.

My personal favorite from “Together” is the lead track, “Moves,” which they played early in the set. They also did “Valkyrie In The Roller Disco,” which Carl Newman said was the first time they had ever performed it. It was slow and pretty, definitely different from their more boisterous stuff, but it was fantastic. I hope they do it more.

Other favorites (for me) were “All The Old Showstoppers,” “Adventures in Solitude” and “Testament To Youth In Verse.”

A few amusing moments came because of a New Pornos superfan standing in the front row, dead center stage (right between Case and Newman). He was singing every word and genuinely appeared to be having the time of his life.

So much so that Newman asked him, “If I name a random song, would you know the words? I think you would. You’re singing along to every song. Know how I know? Because I can hear you.”

Newman also cracked a couple jokes about the guy having red hair. His locks matched Newman and Case’s, which they joked was a good thing because red hair was a prerequisite for the fan joining the band.

It was a cool fan interaction moment. What was even cooler was when the band pulled the fan backstage after the set. When the band emerged for the encore, the fan walked onstage with them, and then shared the mic with Case during “Myriad Harbor,” a moment I’m sure the guy will remember forever.

Anyway, they finished the set with two of my favorite New Pornographers songs: “Challengers” and then the big finish with “Sing Me Spanish Techno.”

“Thanks for coming to our show,” Newman said. “It’s weird that we’ve never been here before, but here we are.”

Can’t wait for them to come back.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFjHkaB80Uc]

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