The New Pornographers’ Spectacular Show At The 9:30 Club

Leica Digilux 3

It was not merely the best New Pornographer’s show we’ve seen, it may have been the best show we’ve seen in some years, full stop. Occasionally Neko’s vocals slipped the track and the band rode on for a mile or two with sparks flying.  But for the most part, the harmonies flew like the Blue Angels in formation, Kurt Dahl continued to rack up points in the computer rankings of the #1 drummer in the universe, and the band rocked with the precision of a synchronized swim team.

Starting with “Sing Me Spanish Techno” is always a challenge, in the same way that starting the NASCAR circuit at Daytona is a challenge — there are going to be wrecks, even as you’re thrilled that the show is underway.  By the time Dan Bejar appeared onstage in a beer bubble, descending like Pink at an awards ceremony to play “Jackie, Dressed in Cobras,” it all gelled.

May we offer special thanks that two-thirds of the way through the sold-out show, they played “We End Up Together,” not just the best song on Together, but once again a song where the New Pornos drop the ironic armature and stand there unprotected.  Our breath ended up one county over.

Neko was in really fine form on all the old showstoppers, not to mention “All The Old Showstoppers.”  On songs like “Letter From An Occupant” or “The Laws Have Changed,” which call for vocal gymnastics, she flipped and bounced in perfect pitch, but in a seemingly easier song to sing, such as “These Are The Fables,” things were a little shakier.

Still, not just a good show, but a great show.  On “Jackie, Dressed In Cobras,” you would have thought Vollman and Kaylan were once again joined with the Mothers of Invention.  A band that plays with such an effort at precision may get a little too loose and chatty between songs, and Canadian humor may in fact be an oxymoron.  But who cares.  After an album (Together) that did slightly disappoint, nice to see it all come together for the funnest band on the planet.

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