Yep, a good rock show can make your weekend. There are certain feelings that take hold of you after seeing a band perform to the height of its capabilities. It can make you feel inspired. Unhindered. Free. It was clear that The New Pornographers made a lot of peopleâ€™s weekend after their blistering set at the Trocadero in Philadelphia.The opening act and frequent New Pornographers vocal contributor, Dan Bejar and his band Destroyer didnâ€™t orchestrate movement from the rather stagnant crowd. Drudging through a quick set of bluesy lo-fi rock, they seemed to just be killing time.
On the other hand, The Canadian-bred, new pop-revivalists New Pornographers had every intention of keeping the crowd alive as they ripped through a sonic set of favorites and soon-to-be indie pop classics. Catapulting into their set almost immediately with the thunderous drums and anthem-like harmonies of â€˜Twin Cinema,â€ the band sounded completely natural and nearly flawless. The songs with the sassy bounce like â€œElectric Versionâ€ gave the crowd a healthy dose of what they were seeking: powerful, high-energy rock and roll.
The beautiful and enchanting Neko Case was a focal point throughout the show and her razor-sharp leading vocals during â€œBones of An Idolâ€ and â€œThese Are the Fablesâ€ were commanding. As the band belted out these shimmering mini-suites, her highly amplified and dynamic voice exuded more warmth and richness than on any of their recordings. It should also be said that lead-singer Carl Newman were equally brilliant. Despite his rather bland exterior, he came across with great gusto and a highly gripping rock and roll attitude while on stage. However, it was when the two shared the lead, like on the sugary sweet â€œThe Laws Have Changed,â€ that the magic was truly spawned. One might compare their musical chemistry to that of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Itâ€™s the type of relationship that simply gels and makes a song, one that would normally sound flat, sound all the more full.
As if the vocal arrangements couldnâ€™t become any more dynamic, Dan Bejar of Destroyer returned to the stage throughout the New Pornographerâ€™s set lending his voice to songs like the enigmatic â€œStreets of Fireâ€ and the groovy â€œJessica Numbers.â€ This time around he was much more enjoyable to hear and watch, perhaps due to the surrounding talent.
Overall, the pacing of the show was excellent. There was just the right mix of up-tempo and down-tempo numbers to keep the crowd well engaged throughout. In general, the mix was clear and full of vibrancy. As the crowd exited the Troc, or as Neko and Carl jokingly referred to it, The Muppet Theater, people seemed to be brimming with enthusiasmâ€¦unhindered, and perhaps inspired.