With a giant replica of their new album’s cover above them on the stage, The New Pornographers delivered a delirious set of extra-large pop during Thursday’s Pabst Theater performance.
But while some artists might direct that bigness to hair, lights, clothing changes, dance numbers and anything but the music, The New Pornographers saved it for their flab-free but massive sound (except for that big ass album cover, of course), which was heavy on thrills and loads of fun.
The now-veteran Canadian band, touring to support the highly touted "Brill Bruisers," featured its three most famous players (A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Dan Bejar) and played songs from across its catalog during the double-encore show – capped by a, uh, frothy take on "The Slow Descent into Alcoholism" from their 2000 debut album "Mass Romantic."
"Brill Bruisers" began the show, and its infectious "bo-bah’s" might have attendees chanting the refrain randomly – with or without the song playing – at a stoplight years from now. The throbbing, butt-shaker "Dancehall Domine" was a definite standout, one worthy of using the word infectious in back-to-back sentences. Bejar’s slow-building "War on the East Coast" – featuring harmonica from Newman – "Another Drug Deal of the Heart" and "Myriad Harbour" also delighted in the early-going.
Case, who was the recipient of "Neko!" cries throughout the night, shined on an emphatic take of "The Laws Have Changed." "Crash Years" showcased nice guitar interplay between Newman and guitarist Todd Fancey, and keyboardist Kathryn Calder took the vocal lead on the tender "Adventures in Solitude."
Bejar offered a good transition with the midtempo "Jackie," which implores listeners to "visualize success," while proclaiming that "the United States used to be a lot of fun." "Backstairs" was both moody and a workout.
Featuring Case, the classic "Mass Romantic" wildly concluded regulation before the band came back on stage. Band members offered limited ch…Read more...