Monday, August 2, 2010

Wolf Parade Comes Through the House of Blues

I’ve written many times on this blog about my admiration for both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner’s projects. It should go without saying that I am a huge fan of Wolf Parade. They have written three amazing albums and one of my favorite songs of all time in “I’ll Believe in Anything”. Their debut Apologies to the Queen Mary, produced by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, is one of the most highly lauded albums of the past decade. I was initially disappointed with their second album, At Mount Zoomer; however, when I was going over my dream set list, I realized that I had chosen more than half of that album. With “Fine Young Cannibals” from the aforementioned album being the song I said I wanted to hear the most.

In 2010, Wolf Parade has returned with their third and perhaps best album, Expo 86. This is a record that is sure to be on my, as well as several others’, best-of-the-year lists. I can’t stress enough the power and maturity displayed within the album’s robust 55+ minutes. Having followed this band for so long, it’s amazing that I haven’t seen them live yet but I could not be more excited since they are touring off such a great record. On July 12, 2010, I finally had the chance to see one of my favorite bands and in the next few paragraphs I will explain why you should make sure to see them if you have the opportunity.

Japanese rockers Moools were an interesting but cool opener. The band played long, jammy indie rock and roll songs in the vain of Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. They consisted simply of a drummer, bassist, and singer/guitarist yet they managed to get into some seriously impressive grooves. Their bassist was exceptional and created some dense, throbbing bass lines which really drove a lot of the songs. The singer sounded decent enough even though I had no idea what he was saying since it was in Japanese. His guitar playing was very complimentary to the tight rhythm section but I wish it was turned up in the mix. He muttered some broken English between songs until finally just uttering “Red Sox” to much applause. They proved you don’t have to be from this country to know how to get a Boston crowd going.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, I began to think, “Maybe I’m not going to see Wolf Parade after all.” Then, to my delight, I watched as Spencer Krug walked up to his keyboard and calmly stated, “Sorry for the wait, we’ll try to make it up to you.” They then began their sprawling set with “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)”, a danceable, upbeat and fast-paced number that immediate had crowd moving and screaming along. After the Krug-penned opener, Boeckner took the spotlight with “Language City” which had my friend and I look at each other in utter glee since it is a definite favorite.

Krug and Boeckner took turns sharing the spotlight and were held together by the forceful and precise drumming of Arlen Thompson. Multi-instrumentalist Dante DeCaro provided the thunderous base and some of the little nuances which make their songs so special. You couldn't possible imagine any other group of people being able to pull off their unique sound. They can fill a room with pleasurable noise like no other musicians can.

By the time “I’ll Believe in Anything” came on, I was completely enthralled by the show. No one can deliver intense quivering vocals like Spencer Krug. To seal the deal, it was followed by “Fine Young Cannibals”, which I stated earlier that I wanted to hear but wasn’t expecting. It could have ended there and I would have been satisfied but they continued to please my eardrums with captivating tunes. I was singing along and dancing so intensely I almost forgot I was in the House of Blues and not in my bedroom.

The set had unexpected highlights like the gorgeous ballad “Yulia” which displayed Boeckner’s innovative guitar style. The band was appreciative to the warm response they were getting and gave the love right back. They ended the regular set with the utterly epic “Kissing the Beehive”. Instead of winding things down, they brought the night to a close with a three song scorcher consisting of “You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son”, “This Heart's on Fire”, and “California Dreamer”. It was fitting to end with deafening crescendos and I have a feeling the audience would have stayed there all night if Wolf Parade kept playing. The set list is at the bottom and photographs from the show can be seen here.

Listen to Expo 86 with the player below and then buy the damn thing because it’s amazing!

Wolf Parade - EXPO 86 by subpop

Set list for Wolf Parade July 12, 2010 at House of Blues Boston:
What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)
Language City
Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
Palm Road
In the Direction of the Moon
Shine a Light
Ghost Pressure
I'll Believe in Anything
Fine Young Cannibals
Two Men in New Tuxedos
Kissing the Beehive

You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son
This Heart's on Fire
California Dreamer

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