The New Pornographers :: Commodore Ballroom

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When I saw the New Pornographers in Seattle opening for Belle & Sebastian at the Paramount Theater, I was quite disapointed by the fact that the show was basically A.C. Newman [wp] and backing band. Their set was still good, and while many of my favorite TNP songs are from Newman, it was just missing a few key elements. Key elements like the rest of the supergroup. I was reluctant to shell out the money to see them again, this time at the Commodore, even with the knowledge that Newman would be joined by the full The New Pornographer’s cast.

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Thankfully Lydia ignored my reluctance and bought tickets anyway, because The New Pornographers live with their (mostly) full lineup is a sight to behold. Sure not having been back home to Vancouver in awhile their stage patter was a bit out of date, I think we as a city are more concerned with the strike then the mayoral elections being rigged, and unusually for the Commodore the mix on the music levels were kind of treble-riffic but it was a great show.

The New Pornographers are by birth, if not by domicile, a local band with all of the major members having spent some significant time in the city of glass. If you’re not familiar with their sound they’re a power pop/rock group who according to the Wikipedia [wp] are:

highly influenced by such power pop bands as The Cars and Cheap Trick, although their songs are generally of a greater melodic and harmonic complexity.

After the jump there’s more on the show, more pictures and even video. Crappy video.

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Neko Case [wp] was a significant edition to the show, since her presence was the mostly keenly missed on stage in Seattle last year. Most of the band’s most popular tracks have been the Neko Case fronted ones, including the show’s closer “Letter From An Occupant”. When not taking the lead she filled in backing vocals and played the tramborine. Dan Bejar [wp], also known from his band Destroyer, wandered on stage to perform his songs but unlike Case vanished from sight as soon as they were done. His appearance however was always met with cheers from the crowd. The only TNPer missing was drummer Kurt Dahle, also known from local bands Age of Electric and Limblifter, who had recently just had a child.

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The show drew heavily from the band’s new album Challengers, of which I’ve not yet gotten familiar with, hopefully this will spur me to spend a bit more time with the disc (of AAC files). There were enough of their older songs that those who had not memorized every line off Challengers still had a chance to sing along.

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All in all it was a great show, despite the mixing problems. Pure pop pleasure, as they say around the alliteration water cooler.

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