It doesn’t get much better than Wolf Parade on the Fonda Theater stage last Saturday. Top. Notch.
How does a band with this many resources keep from imploding? I’d guess it helps when each member gets to explore any excess urges by fronting their own bands on the side. Why not, right? They do what they want, and we have more music to listen to in between Wolf Parade albums. And when they do unite…
It’s like 1992 US Olympic “Dream Team.” Seriously, that might be the last time such talent has been funneled into one glass of dominance. So let’s consider Spencer Krug our Magic Johnson, which means Sunset Rubdown is our Lakers. Dan Boeckner is our Michael Jordan, making Handsome Furs our Chicago Bulls. And Dante DeCaro is our… Clyde Drexler, making Johnny and The Moon our Blazers (now we’re stretching).
The roster is back on tour for their second LP, At Mount Zoomer. It’s on that defining follow-up album’s tour where bands either get better or get stuck. As fans, we often endure the new stuff in hopes of hearing a few gems from the past. And other times, we love an entire show that combines new and old into a mellifluous* package. Progression. Saturday’s show in LA (Barcelona), and likely their whole tour, seems to reflect the latter.
I hadn’t really figured out the new album going into the show. I do like their choice in staying away from sugary singles or rehashing (as we’ve lost too many good acts to that kind of follow-up syndrome). And it’s certainly grand, but Mount Zoomer hasn’t hit me like the acclaimed debut did. That is until the live versions exposed how much more complex and interesting Zoomer's tracks are.
All the favorites were played throughout the night (Ian’s “It’s a Curse” and my “I’ll Believe in Anything” and everyone’s “Shine a Light”). We had a strangely ideal view of Spencer's hands on the piano, which, we later admitted, were hypnotizing. Of the multiple high points, the 12 minute-plus “Kissing the Beehive” took gold (I can't believe people are talking during that linked video). Spencer and Dan have always traded vocal duties from song for song but before never verse for verse. Whatever rivalry the blog world has created between the two songwriters is simultaneously magnified and put to rest in this epic.
I have my fingers crossed that the best is still yet to come with these guys.
*thanks for the word, former intern Scott!