Yo, baby, I’m back. Did you miss me? I was pining away for you.
Last Thursday, I was back at Union Transfer to see the New Pornographers. Yes, that band has a terrible name, especially given that their brand of indie rock is more folk than punk. But they are fun to see, have a solid catalog of music, and they feature one of my favorite performers, Neko Case. It was a good time and a much needed break from my recent work grind.
One problem for this post is that the band requested no pictures, and most of the crowd followed that request. For once, even I followed the rules (I promise not to let that happen again), and so I have no shots from the show. Instead, I’ll link to a couple of songs on youtube so that you can get a visual.
If you don’t know NP, they have been around for a while. They have 7 studio albums, and have collected a number of awards for their efforts. Mass Romantic was voted one of the top indie albums of all time just after its release, and other albums have been heavily praised by Rolling Stone and other publications. Their music is accessible, seldom rocking out hard, and the lyrics are often poignant. They also have a large following: The show at UT was sold out, and the appreciative audience was into it.
Before I went, I was worried that Neko Case would not be touring with the band. I shouldn’t have worried as Neko was there in all her glory. She is a dynamo with a great voice and incredible command over her vocal range. But more than that, she is just a wonderful stage presence. It’s not like she is Jagger – don’t expect that. What you should expect, however, is a stylish woman who has the self-assurance and mastery of her craft so down that she exudes a star quality that most performers don’t have. No matter who else you are looking at on stage, eventually you are drawn back to Neko. She is hard to ignore.
The rest of the band is solid, too. There are great vocal harmonies on many of their tunes, lots of instrumentation (two keyboards, two guitars) and hooks a plenty. Here is a link to the setlist for those who are interested in what they played.
I had a good time at the show except for the opening act, Waxahatchee. They were horrid. It wasn’t that they were without talent, it was just that each song sounded exactly like the song before it. BORING. NP has continued with a great rock tradition of not being upstaged by their opener, but I would prefer the attitude of the Revivalists – they brought along the Weeks, who rocked and are worth seeing – but then amped it up even further to prove that, yes, they are worthy of being headliners. Now that’s rock ‘n roll!
OK, until next time, keep on turning it up to 11. I’ll have plenty more to post about this week, and I hope that you tune in. And once you do, in the words of the Clash, don’t touch that dial! See ya.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.