Showbox at the Market
Monday, July 26
Wolf Parade kicked off their set with "Soldier's Grin," off their second LP, At>"/>
Wolf Parade kicked off their set with "Soldier's Grin," off their second LP, At Mount Zoomer; it was a fantastic choice for an opener -- it's one of Dan Boeckner's best vocal performances and it set the tone for the rest of the evening, which Spencer Krug promised to be "a nice mix of new songs and old songs." True to form, the setlist was a tight and crowd-pleasing medley from all three of the band's releases. The selection of new songs from last month's Expo 86 was just right -- "What Did My Lover Say?," "Cloud Shadow on the Mountain," the jittery and -- in my mind -- perfect pop song "Ghost Pressure" were all performed with an infectiously ripstop energy. "Palm Road," a song that I originally dismissed as slow and meandering was brought to life on stage, thanks to a liquid-clear synth, Boeckner's heady vocals, and several splashy drum fills. Boeckner's and Krug's vocals are so smoothly similar in pitch and delivery, they can't help but complement each other; those two are truly artistic counterparts (they hugged each other at one point in the middle of the set). And on that note, every member of this band puts seemingly every ounce of themselves into their performance -- Arlen Thompson's drums were crashing and showy; Dante DeCaro's guitar solos were killer.
Wolf Parade's performance never once slowed down last night, and although their first (and best) record, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is now five years old, none of its songs sound the least bit dated. "Dear Sons and Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts," "I'll Believe In Anything," and particularly "This Heart's On Fire" were actually the crowd favorites of the night -- during the anthemic "This Heart's," the stage was seriously shaking; I thought the amps were going to topple over at any minute. Zoomer's "California Dreamer" was a perfect closer -- pounding, recognizable ("I think I might have heard you on the radio/ But the radio waves were like snow") and emphatic.
Except, of course, it wasn't the closer, since the band obviously returned for a quick encore that included a song from each record -- "Kissing The Beehive," a thrilling "You Are A Runner And I am My Father's Son," and "Yulia." The latter is my favorite song off Expo 86 and I'd been mentally willing them to play it all night -- those vocal harmonies were beautiful, and the song itself was vigorous and eloquent, flawlessly showcasing why Wolf Parade is one of the best bands playing rock music today.
Personal Bias: I'm personally biased towards Queen Mary and sorely missed "Modern World," "Grounds For Divorce," and especially, especially "Shine a Light."
The Crowd: Jumpy, fist-pumping, and beer-swilling.
Random Notebook Dump: Krug -- "I'm glad we're here. I'm glad you're here. This would be really weird if you weren't here." Good observation.
Overheard in the Crowd: "If they will be my piper, I would be pied by them everyday." This was actually a post-show text from a friend. The wording's that of a drunken fan, but the sentiment is true and right on.
All photos by Laura Musselman.