The Monday Set: Wolf Parade – Newport, KY – 7/16/10


Wolf Parade
Southgate House
Newport, KY
7/16/10

Well, sports fans, there are few bands out there with serious indie credibility that are more popular these days than Wolf Parade.  Avalanche’s recent post on Frog Eyes highlighted the way WP‘s members have been keeping busy with innumerable side projects with increasingly ridiculous names.* But they’ve just released a new album, Expo 86, and embarked on a national tour.

Their new songs feature the same unusual keyboards, staccato guitars, and syncopated rhythms seen on their two previous albums.  If anything, they have returned to some of the style of their first album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, abandoning some of the more ornate aspects from At Mount Zoomer.  Personally, I think this is a positive development — in the past, I’ve decried the affliction which I have termed “Yes-itis”: proggy early-1970’s-type baroque orchestrations, unnecessarily long “rock opera”-style songs, and (especially unforgivable), noodling on keyboards to no purpose — and Wolf Parade seem to have realized this, too.  I don’t know if the change is due to the departure of Hadji Bakara for grad school, but he was responsible for playing the parts I tended to find most objectionable.  In recent interviews, WP has acknowledged that they might have been spread a bit thin with all the side projects, so maybe greater concentration also helped them create tighter, more effective songs.

At the risk of making this post even longer, I’ll just say a few words about the show.  The venue, Southgate House, prides itself as being the birthplace of the inventor of the Tommy gun.  Many online reviews praise the excellent sound, but I actually found that moving ten feet either right or left on the main floor made a substantial difference — too boomy in the middle, too tinny off to the sides.  I think I found the sweet spot, but listeners will have to judge for themselves.  I did like the balcony seating (not just for VIP’s!).

The band was deeply hung-over, but they were troopers in proper professional rock-star style.  There were recurrent feedback problems, apparently from Spencer Krug’s mike, but it was not enough to ruin the show.  Halfway through the set, Dan Boeckner clearly wanted a cigarette badly (beginning of “Ghost Pressure”); signs throughout the club claimed that the band had requested no smoking, which turned out not to be the case.  Finally, despite Avalanche’s warnings, my batteries failed at the beginning of the encore.  The set therefore includes only the first twelve songs.

*Which is totally different from being called “Avalanche” or “Jbird.”

Setlist:
1. What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had to Go This Way)
2. Language City
3. Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
4. Palm Road
5. Oh You, Old Thing
6. This Heart’s on Fire
7. Ghost Pressure
8. I’ll Believe in Anything
9. Fine Young Cannibals
10. Two Men in New Tuxedos
11. Yulia
12. Kissing the Beehive

Sample: [audio: http://www.thesoundofindie.com/archive/2010/20100719/WP-Yulia.mp3|titles=Yulia (Live)|artists=Wolf Parade]

Download: Wolf Parade – Newport, KY – 7/16/10 – 339 MB