Nov 11, 2010

The New Pornographers @ Manning Bar

Rock the house! Rock it, shake it, set it on fire! They breezed in from Canada and other parts and reminded us melody lives and breathes well and truly in the hearts of The New Pornographers. This was the band's third trip to Australia and they were on target all night long at the Manning Bar. Playing for over an hour and a half they criss crossed over five albums worth of material, certainly providing something for every one.

"Sing Me Spanish Techno" was a blazing start to the night and there wasn't much let up after that point. Despite the vocals being a bit buried in the mix, especially Neko's, it didn't stop the band throwing themselves with full energy into every moment of the night. This is a band with few weak points in their catalogue, so it's a given that any set list will be a good set list. But I was especially and surprisingly pleased with the material from "Together", their 2010 release. Whilst their earlier material is thunderstruck power pop, this latest release sees the band spread the wings a bit and ease some space into their songs. This is very welcome live as the constant barrage of pop/rock overload can be a little overwhelming at times. I would liken it to devouring chocolate. It is great at first, but then becomes a little hard to keep eating. Too much of a good thing if you like. So it was songs like "Crash Years" and "Up In The Dark" and "Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk" that I really loved. Also very enjoyable were cuts from "Challengers", such as "Adventures In Solitude", "Go Places" and "All The Showstoppers". It was also nice to hear the band take on two Dan Bejar penned numbers, especially the glorious "Testament To Youth In Verse". Other highlights were the frenetic oldie in "Mass Romantic" and the perfect closer in "The Bleeding Heart Show". Another highlight of the night was the on stage banter. The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves and often shared stories and jokes in between songs. Such as informing us that Dan Bejar is a unique individual, don't we know that, and that they loved the Australian marine life. The encore was interesting as well. After a great rendition of "Challengers", Carl Newman wanted to throw in "Miss Teen Wordpower", which the band, especially Neko, wasn't too keen on. Eventually, after a couple of false starts they abandoned the song and closed with two cuts from their debut album. A great end to a great night. The band were not only tight and professional, but funny and oh so talented. Drummer Kurt Dahle was fantastic on his kit and of course Neko Case, despite sound issues, belted our vocals as only she can. Kathryn Calder was no slouch either on vocals and keyboards. A little part of Sydney was owned last night by a little part of Canada. Come back again anytime.

Set List
Sing Me Spanish Techno
It's Only Divine Right
Up In The Dark
Crash Years
All The Old Showstoppers
The Laws Have Changed
Jackie, Dressed In Cobras
Adventures In Solitude
Twin Cinema
Testament To Youth In Verse
Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
The Body Says No
We End Up Together
Go Places
Your Hands (Together)
Mass Romantic
Moves
Use It
The Bleeding Heart Show

Challengers
Miss Teen Wordpower (partly)
Execution Day
The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism

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