nekocasenewpornographersshowbox.jpg
Laura Musselman
Neko Case, with The New Pornographers, at the Showbox at the Market on Saturday, July 31. The band plays and all-ages show at

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The New Pornographers Keep One Foot In the Bar and the Other In the Arena, Last Night At The Showbox, Where They Play Again Tonight

nekocasenewpornographersshowbox.jpg
Laura Musselman
Neko Case, with The New Pornographers, at the Showbox at the Market on Saturday, July 31. The band plays and all-ages show at the Showbox tonight.
The New Pornographers

Saturday, July 31

Showbox at the Market

A few notes on last night's show:

-- "The Laws Have Changed": The New Pornographers have no brakes. None. With few exceptions, and no matter how the songs started, the New Pornographers ended up shouting through the end -- and most middles -- of every song. On record, they're a refined, nuanced bunch. But on stage, they're all loud, holding the crowd back with an avalanche of hot indie pop on Canadian steroids, which accounts for all the smirks and smiles.

-- "Execution Day": The show was all about excesses: shameless pop hooks, cheap, saccharine sweet melodies, three guitars, nine band members, and all cranked up to ear-splitting levels. It works because they own every ounce of it. "Execution Day" sucked up oxygen from no less than five voices, making one wonder what was keeping the other four mouths shut.

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Laura Musselman
The New Pornographers' Dan Bejar
-- "Moves," the first track of the band's most recent album, Together, sits neatly at the intersection of the live band's competing sympathies: arenas and the bar circuit. "These things get louder," they sing. We're not sure that's possible.

-- "Go Places" is where vocalist Neko Case was at her most commanding, effortless, and uninhibited. Seeing her with the New Porns is miles more interesting than watching her rote solo show. She'd do well to insert some of the NP's bravado into her comparably hushed show.

Opener: The Dodos: On paper, an indie trio that includes a guy playing the vibraphone with a bow sounds like a chamber-pop nightmare. Instead, the Dodos are three bashers, accomplished musicians, and intent on making bigger music with three people than most bands put together with five.

But the vibes can be a bit much when the bow goes away and the mallets come out. While trying to keep up with the band's frenetic pace, it gets grating. Less vibes is more vibes. They'd be better off using them to pick up the low-end bass they do without.

Reporter's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I've seen the New Porns a handful of times, and this was the first time I made it through the entire set.

The Crowd: Enthralled, white, and closer to 40 than 20 (it was the a 21+ set, afterall)

Random Notebook Dump: Three guitarists (at a minimum) and no guitar solo?

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Laura Musselman
Dodos drummer Logan Kroeber
 
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