Neko Case To Her New Pornographers Bandmates: The Show Must Go On!

Dateline 930 Club, April 15th, 2008.  Secret Member Dan Bejar did not float onto the stage in a bubble comprised of burped-up Beck’s beer. Neko was hobbling from being checked into the boards at a Canucks playoff game, and advance word had it that she had a cold. The set-list seemed the inverse of the usual dynamic: slow songs first, escalating to all the old showstoppers (not to mention “All The Old Showstoppers.”) We had the sense that what some fear most – the New Pornographers turning down the volume, going cold turkey on the Mountain Dew — had come true, and yet when it worked, which was most of the time, it was glorious.  The set we saw Tuesday night does not seem to be remotely the same one folks saw the night before.  (See:http://rockist.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-pornographers-setlist-930-club.html)  I actually missed, if not Bejar, at least hearing songs like “Jackie, Dressed in Cobras.”  Some things were clear: they were having fun, Neko’s bad ankle notwithstanding.  They finally could hear themselves, once the monitors were working.  And we could hear them, could hear not just the beauteous roar of the four voices in harmony, not just the bison-stampede thunder of Kurt Dahle’s drums, but even the occasional guitar line played by Todd Fancey (normally buried like an artifact underneath remnants of later civilizations.)  When they finished the “The Bleeding Heart Show,” it was like the whole chorus from “Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy” was up there on the stage singing.  Or maybe it was us.

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