Disclaimer: I didn't have my camera, I didn't take any pictures. I apologize.
My love of Wolf Parade is well documented. My wife is an even bigger fan. So you can probably guess at our excitement headed into Wednesday night's show at First Avenue. After dropping Hank at the babysitter (thank you, Julia!), we headed downtown to meet up with some folks and partake in bruchetta, beverages and good company at Pizza Luce. We marched down to the venue just in the nick of time to stand around for an hour for the opening band. After the irksome delay (I hate waiting around for a band to come on stage), opening act Listening Party finally kicked things off. Previously unknown to me, the British Columbia-based two piece had a definite Animal Collective, tribal-folky vibe about them and it made for some decent head-bobbing material. The first song they played was fantastic, and I haven't a clue what it's called. Unfortunately, that was the only highlight to speak of. I quickly lost enthusiasm and became more interested in how one of the dudes looked exactly like Seth Rogen. The other was more of a bearded Ryan Reynolds. Moving on...
After a thankfully short break between sets, Wolf Parade came out on stage to much fanfare. The usual foursome of Spencer (my fav), Dan (wife's fav), Arlen Thompson and Hadji Bakara were joined by some other fella on synths who could have been Dan's brother. Without so much as a word, the group jumped right into 'Language City,' a stellar track from At Mount Zoomer and one hell of an intro. The intensity grew exponentially as the guys ripped through nearly every track of the new LP, plus a good portion of Apologies. Highlights included 'This Heart's on Fire,' 'California Dreamer,' 'Shine a Light' and 10 minute set closer 'Kissing the Beehive.' About half-way through, Spencer introduced a "new" song into the setlist, and it turned out to be a Sunset Rubdown track. Pleasant surprise. I can't remember which one for the life of me. Finally, in what was easily the most thrilling part of the show, Wolf Parade played a blistering encore version of 'I'll Believe in Anything.' It drove the crowd into a frenzy as the 90 minute set came to its regretful end. The energy in the room reminded me of the legendary TVOTR show at Emo's a couple year's back.
Surprisingly, First Ave. was nowhere near capacity. A friend assured me that most people have never heard of Wolf Parade, but I can't understand it. This place should have been sold-out! Anyway, the crowd made up for it in enthusiasm. This one kid right next to us, he was maybe 19, had this absurd kick-boxing dance routine that was both hilarious and distracting. The young Van Damme is an extreme example, but overall the crowd was energetic and sincere. Shoegazing at a minimum. And to be surrounded by a passionate, dancing crowd made the experience all the more fun.
Hey, it turns out I found a video on YouTube of this dancing kid I was talking about...
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