Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Am My Father's Son

Wolf Parade
First Avenue
July 18, 2010

Funny how a couple of years can turn everything inside itself and then back again. When Wolf Parade burst onto the scene a couple years ago (more than i guess), i was enthralled by their progressive pop smarts. They wrote catchy melodic songs that wormed into my ear and hung around for days. The production was a little of the moment, but it complemented the songs well enough. Then following that great release we had side projects of handsome furs, sunset rubdown (2 releases!) and swan lake. Lesser product to my ears but still intriguing and i’m all for prolific as we sped towards the sophomore WP disc. Then At Mount Snoozer came out and all the momentum evaporated into a wtf roadkill moment (for me at least) prog instead of pop, pedantic and plodding and flat out boring. Burn bright, baby and you burn fast. And just like that, i was done.

Then came a slow spot in 2009 and i decided to give the new handsome furs disc a shot. And i loved it, caught a show at the entry and suddenly, i’m thinking...well maybe it’s spencer that is ruining the band and dan’s got it going. The second swan lake disc came out a few months later and although that didn’t change my mind about dan being my main wolfie, i didn’t hate it and i appreciated the guys were recording again. Course, it was June of last year when Dragonslayer came out that i really realized that DAMN, this spencer guy isnt the problem either cos this album is amazing.

Maybe the problem isn’t either of the guys, it's the wolf parade project. These guys should just break up and do their own thing. and that was my new story and i was sticking with it.

Then Expo ’86 came out and i was like, damn. this is pretty good. maybe these guys should stick it out, cos the songs are tight, the flow is good and i’m liking this disc quite a bit (and despite mount snoozer, my expectations were still pretty high)

So expecting a rush, i grabbed a pair of tickets early for the first ave show and tried to temper my excitement. But there wasn’t really a rush (glad i wasn’t looking to unload extras), as we had ample space for the first time in pretty much forever (of course, not ample enough to avoid the totally obnoxious chicks flipping their freaking hair extensions in my drink, my face, my mouth who were sure they were gonna bang the band, any band(also who knew hair extensions taste french fries))

but the show was.....satisfying and frustrating. I mean, the band is certainly tight and can play the hell out of their instruments. Dan wasn’t quite as charismatic as he was at the entry show (would have been nice to see the low riders he was sporting at the entry), but he was smoking on the guitar and as guitar god as indie will allow. Spencer was a revelation, a rick wakeman-esque dynamo at the keyboards front and center, mesmerizing me with his solos and head whips (seriously dude, i hope you have a good chiropractor---even if i think they are quacks). but the format of one dan song then one spencer song just didn’t work in terms of momentum and flow. the styles of the two guys are just too different (maybe even on Expo ’86 now that i relisten to it) to make a 90 minute show anything more than a see saw of pop/prog/rock/psychedelic rock whiplash. i left there enjoying individual songs, but feeling dissatisficed with the show as whole. and really needing a quack chiropractor (oxymoron) for whiplash relief.

But, never fear, i’ll be tuning in for the next iteration of the wolf parades.

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