Saturday, August 26, 2006

At Last! The Canadians Are Here! Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes at the Wiltern Friday August 25,2006

8 months. It's been 8 months since I missed the last Wolf Parade show. And even though I built this show up for that long, it was still as awesome as I thought it would be.

If you've never been to the Wiltern, it looks as if it was a really fancy place about 60 years ago. There's some remaining architectural details that make it look pretty fancy, but a woman's bathroom with only 3 stalls.... dude, who are we kidding??? I'm also quite miffed about the upstairs/downstairs/limited "pit" seating arrangement. I waiting too long to buy tickets, so I ended up in the "upstairs" seating arrangement, where people SAT through the rockin' performances. People, please, it's a fast paced musical show. You don't "sit". You stand and head bob, come on!!!!

Missed the first band so I couldn't tell you the name. However, out in the bar, there are tvs where you can sit and watch the performances, that was kinda cool. Second on was Frog Eyes, which I started listening to when I found out the lead singer, Carey Mercer, was part of the band Swan Lake (which included Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade and Dan Bejar- WOAH! is right!)- who are set to release their first album out on Jagjaguwar Records in November. Anyway, they jump-started their set with "The Oscillator's Hum" (which just minutes before I was telling my friend that if they played that one song, I'd be happy, and they did, so I was). The tempo was different from the recorded version; here it slowed down and sped up quite abruptly. From there the whole 45 minute or so set just took off at full steam with Mercer screaming and whispering his highs and lows with the band backing him up like kids crashing through a kitchen banging on pots and pans. Unfortunately the crowd wasn't into it that much, well, one kid in the pit was dancing all by himself, but other than that I don't think they knew what to do here. I just wanted to smack them and shout "Look, there, THAT is good music. Pay attention and stop fucking talking over the music." When Mercer did talk back to the crowd ("Could whoever keeps yelling shit please stop, I don't understand."), this small voice addressed them, a complete contrast to the roar that he let's out when singing. The last song was what finally drew the crowd in. They were able to build the song up and take the crowd along with them, and at that point I think they may have won the audience over.

When Wolf Parade came on, I think the crowd was finally just happy to SEE them. Spencer Krug, who played the keys during the entire Frog Eyes set, was not showing any signs of weariness and was practically hopping all over his larger setup. Other lead singer, Dan Boeckner, was playing this or that games with the crowd in between songs (Who would you rather be stuck with[locked in a room or something- can't remember] Les Claypool or Ani Difranco?-- I think I was just as surprised as him when they cheered on Ani. In reality, I'm sure many of these kids are too young to know who Les Claypool is). With all kidding and playing aside, the set was incredible. They played almost everything off of Apologies to the Queen Mary (maybe even all of it.) and some old stuff. Also included in the set was some new material which seemed to be taking another direction then this previous album. There was a mellow, jazz influence through some of the new songs, and Spencer even took up the guitar for a couple. Highlights were I'll Believe In Anything, which received many many cries from the audience including myself (this is my favorite tune from them, listening to it puts me in an almost transcendent state- really, it's that good, maybe it's the drums) and the last song of the encore, Dinner Bells, which they kept going on with till it seemed the point of exhaustion. I think everyone heaved a sigh when it was finished.

And now another long wait until they're back. At least the six other side projects will more than likely be touring sometime this fall.

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