New Pornographers | Showbox | 14 Seattle 2007
Back in the Mass Romantic and Electric Version days I was a Carl Newman and Neko Case fan, and had yet to be converted into the Dan Bejar cult. Mass Romantic and Electric Version had Newman sucking me into his high fructose corn syrup pop world with songs like Mass Romantic, The Slow Descent into Alcoholism and From Blown Speakers and Electric Vision. On those album Bejar’s songs were always a welcom respit but they never hit home. Either I’ve changed or the New Pronographers have changed, becuase Bejar’s songs have taken over as pop kings and now with Challengers, their fourth album, I count myself a full a member of the Bejar’s Destoyer army. Don’t get me wrong Challengers has its Newman-Neko moments, but it’s the Bejar songs that carry this record. Actually, the band seems to have taken on a new bent in their songs for the new record, they seem to be trying to branch out with the songs a bit more introspective and more multifaceted.
The show Friday night didn’t take on the introspective-mellow nature of the new album, it was a full on happening/party/New Pornographers appreciation. The 21+ show was full of die-hards singing every word, shouting for their favorites, swooning for Neko and chanting Destroyer. Bejar made himself scarce, coming on stage for his songs and then disappearing until his next song. He acted kinda like the band’s muse, bringing handfuls of beers one time, shakers the next, a guitar another time. Bejar’s songs were all great, and they did all three from Challengers (btw, Myriad Harbour is my song of the year thus far) plus Jackie, Dressed in Cobras, but it was the songs that never really caught my attention on cd that were some of the standouts from the night. The Neko-Kathryn Calder dueting of Failsafe was brilliant, and the set closing, The Bleeding Heart Show, was the epiphany, the final chorus had Neko belting it out, bringing the show to a true climax worthy of an encore. After that, the encore was somewhat of a let down, but with the final song, the Slow Descent into Alcoholism Newman reminded me with his sharp pop hooks why I liked his band in the first place.
I’ve got a few more photo’s from the night over at flickr.