Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'll Believe Anything!

Just got home from the sold out Wolf Parade show at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia tonight. In a word, it was blissful.

The five piece from Montreal played most of their LP, Apologies to Queen Mary, but experimented occassionally with some new tracks. The LP, which made lots of critics top 10 lists last year, was produced by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. A lot of people may hate me for saying this, but while the album is great, after seeing these guys play for an hour its shocking how much Brock has stripped down the energy of the band. These guys are an explosion. Like an overachiever whose seen one to many of Tony Robbin's personal power video seminars.

If you haven't had a chance to see them live this what its like: five completely unassuming guys come on stage and mumble tragically Canadian stuff like "you all are super nice." They also apologize repeatedly for not being better at stage banter,"We really suck at the between song thing guys..."

They've got one guy that plays only sound effects (the kind of stuff Johnny has been doing for Radiohead since Kid A), a drummer, one dude that rotates between the bass and an assortment of percussion instruments, and vocals exchanged between mad keyboardist Spencer Krug and explosive guitarist Dan Boeckner.

Everyone in the band is technically proficient, and they are all up for every second of the performance. The sound is at once completely chaotic, strangely melodic and under control. I can only imagine that Jerry Lee Lewis once played the piano like Krug does now, because he his stomping his feet and kicking his legs with such rigor that one could easily think he's trying to play the floor like an instrument. He claps between piano key strokes, has to wipe the sweat off his keyboard with a towel between songs, struggles to catch his breath as he sings. When Krug and Boeckner layer chorus vocals they are singing with their eyes closed with that sincerity that Nick Hornby makes fun of in About a Boy. The music isn't obvious but its extraordinarily catchy considering no one can figure out what Krug is saying but shouts the one or two words that are audible in choruses. Boeckner's songs are much more subtle 3 minute rock diddies that balance out Krugs more experimental forays, but the guy can really sing and these are well crafted songs.

The new material material, not nearly as polished as the album tracks, very laden in ethereal sound effects and a lot slower than their previous work. The band is at their strongest when playing the five amazing songs that close off their debut album - all of which sound ever so much better live, particularly the standouts "This Heart's on Fire," "Dinner Bells," and "I'll Believe Anything." The latter of which was performed with about as much heart as any song I've ever seen played by a band in person.

I am glad I got to see them now and sincerely hope they never get bored of playing these songs because it'd be sad to see these guys half-assing it after what I saw tonight.

Recommend resoundingly.


At 4:57 PM, Blogger FriedOreo said...

Glad you enjoyed the concert, Ryunited. I really like their debut and have high hopes for these guys. Did you have a cheesesteak at Jim's before or after the concert? I have fond memories of Mugshot and I doing just that last year.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger ryunited and it feels so good said...

"Provolone...with" at Jim's just after the show.

For anyone curious what the Wolf Parade experience is like live, here is a fantastic clip of them doing "I'll Believe in Anything" at CMJ last year:


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