[Illustration by KAGAN McLEOD]
BY PELLE GUNTHER Wolf Parade has long been known for heavy indie rock dirges covered in wild synth leads and a live show does not disappoint. On top of that Spencer Krug’s wailing vibrato is just as bizarre and captivating in person, all pining and heartbreak mixed with a strange sense of hope. Unfortunately, when Krug took a break from screaming his vocals, Dan Boeckner filled in with his much less distinctive voice, which didn’t carry the same emotional pull that Krug had captivated me with.
The band focused much of their set on new music from Expo 86, which would have been great, except that some the new songs felt dynamically flat at times, which after a few on end, left nothing memorable outside of a song mush. That’s not to say that they’re not well written, good songs. Just that at times, I found myself wondering where the other end of that heavy, rock-dirge rainbow was. The band just couldn’t hold my undivided attention; that is until they hit a pocket of their finest including a track off the new album known as Ghost Pressure. This was all leading up to “I’ll Believe In Anything,” the highlight of the night, which had the whole audience screaming along to the lyrics “Nobody loves you and nobody gives a damn.”
By this point in the show, my impression of the band had been changed quite drastically, and despite my earlier experience, my feet began to tap and my mind began to focus. This all came about just in time for the band to tell us that they were about to play a brand new one for us. They then proceeded to play a very dark piano and synth driven song that left the whole audience somewhat silent. However the song was not un-enjoyable. Just thoroughly surprising.
After leaving the stage, the ruckusy crowd of fans stomped the band into an encore, starting with the tune “Cloud Shadow On A Mountain” from Expo 86. Admittedly one of the strangest tracks to their name, but one that went over beautifully giving Arlen Thomson plenty of space to place carefully orchestrated and timed drum fills in what was a surprisingly dynamic live song. They finished it off with a few more old and knew before retiring to the wild cheers of a very pleased audience (myself included). Although they started off a little rocky they put together a fine and energetic evening well worth a watch from albums that are well worth a listen.