Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Canada, you are forgiven

The New Pornographers with The Dodos, and The Dutchess & the Duke - June 23 - 930 club - $37

Senior Youth Correspondent, Andrew, fills us in on night number 2 from this week's back to back New Pornographers shows at the 930 club.

Quite unlike the esteemed Potsy, I enjoyed The Dodos quite a bit. I had heard much banter about them recently but had yet to check the tunes. I enjoy their name especially and went into Wednesday’s set looking out for themes of extinction—the fate that their plump, shrewd namesakes were doomed to eons ago.

The Dodos brought together everything that is great about today’s punk-tinged indie acts like Wavves and Japandroids—driving rhythms, melodic hooks, interesting sonic textures—without replicating the annoying aspects of those bands—inability to handle their drugs, endless droning feeback, repetitive or whiny lyrics. Whereas those two bands are drenched in distortion, The Dodos were more light in their approach, substituting glistening acoustic tones for the punishing overdriven sound of Wavves and Japandroids.

About halfway through their set, the band played two new songs that were both top notch. Drums reminiscent of Animal Collective were paired with country-infused strumming and a bowed vibraphone. I thought singer Meric Long did a good job leading his outfit and only sometimes were there hints that the band lacked self confidence. I would definitely listen to The Dodos in my free time, and would likely attend one of their concerts in the future. Solid Opener.

Never miss seeing the New Pornographers, period. Especially when all nine of them show up. NP gigs featuring both Neko Case and Dan Bejar present the listener with a veritable shmorgishborg of musical expertise and pop genius. Case and Bejar are solo artists who approach NP’s level of recognition in their own right, and when you combine their powers with A.C. Newman (who will never, ever be out catchy-ed), just watch out. Potsy was correct indeed—Bejar is a game changer. I love the fact that nothing about him has changed since I saw him with NP in 07: skulking on and off the stage, slinging a bottle of Stella, and looking like he hates the band’s guts. What a dude.

A big fear with a band that is beloved by so many (both nights sold out. I scalped for $38 day of) is that the set list will feature new stuff at the expense of what everyone wants to hear, the oldies. I like the new tunes a lot, they are great, but I love older NP stuff. Thankfully, it seemed that the band had received and decided to play a set list from a savvy fan, one Amad. Dude knew his business, and NP played a slew of classics, some of which hadn’t been played for years according to Newman. These included The End of Medicine, To Wild Homes, Mass Romantic, and The Electric Version, songs that I hadn’t heard since 2006-ish but that instantly brought back a flood of memories (memories of wishing I was as cool as the dudes and girls in the band).

They are impeccable in the live setting. I simply cannot overstate this. If you didn’t enjoy their set, I’d talk to the doctor about it today. I would say they were so good last night that I release all feelings of hatred toward their native country for what happened during the Winter Olympic hockey final. That’s real big.

In addition to their indie-pop dominance, the band’s banter was genuinely hilarious. One ongoing joke on Wednesday about Pitchfork involved Case telling the crowd that their first interviewer from the then unknown website (hard to believe right) was so young that she had to breast feed him. According to her bandmates, this caused the nubile taste-maker/faker to grow a few inches. “My milk is powerful shit,” replied the beautiful chanteuse nonchalantly.

Listen to the Wednesday show online via NPR's All Songs Considered.


BMW said...

Did they walk out onstage to Boston’s “Foreplay”? I loved that, as well as ELO “Do you want my love” blasting after the house lights came up.

Their music was great live, but the comfort level was off somehow last night (6/25) at UNC. First, Neko kept exiting the stage between songs at the start, which looked like technical difficulties with her monitor.

The rhythm was: Great Song! Strange you-could-hear-a-pin-drop silence, punctuated by fans shouting out “Neko we love you!” which she ignored? Or didn’t hear? Or some sparse comments or funny putdowns of various fan requests by Newman, followed by another Great Song!

For now I’ll blame it on the venue’s excess of space. I think it was a sold out show, or nearly that, but it was an auditorium which limits and spreads out dancing plus the band members were far apart onstage. Newman commented on that, and later asked “Was this a lecture hall?”

BMW said...

correction- ELO's "Do Ya"