I just got back from the New Pornographers show at the Variety Playhouse. I’ve listened to NP for a few years, at times constantly while I work. I was excited to finally see them live; I’ve missed them their last few times through Atlanta. What I found out though was that I prefer their recorded music to their live performance- at least tonight, anyway.
For a band with such a risqué name, this performance couldn’t have been more G-rated. Even though the songs tend to be high energy, the crowd seemed subdued and still. It reminded me a little of a Peter, Paul & Mary show-- like, pass me the wine from the picnic basket, I'm gonna need to get a bit more of a buzz on to get through this. Or like they were saying to each other “let’s all harmonize as loud and earnestly as possible”, but with 5 more people on the stage than PP&M, and one of those five I found to be annoying and a bit of a knob, as my sister would say. Neko Case didn’t feel anywhere near as strong as she sounded when I saw her solo this summer.
The highlight of the show for me was Kathryn Calder, who plays keyboard and accordion and harmonizes heavenly. I also loved the band name in lights on the stage and the fact that they have a shark on their new album. And they did play Mass Romantic, the song I was hoping for.
I should probably offer the disclaimer at this point that I'm sick and was having a hard time even standing during the show. Perhaps my illness could have impacted my level of enjoyment. It wouldn’t stop me from going, you know. Hell no. I'm a fuckin rocker. And besides, for all the shows I see, it’s probably good that I don’t love all of them. No one would trust me if I gave 7 thumbs up to every show I saw. So just to remain credible, I’ll give this show only 5 thumbs up. And here’s some video for you to enjoy.
Mass Romantic played by The New Pornographers, October 30, 2007 Atlanta GA
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