Monday, April 14, 2008

Hey La, hey la, hey la, hey laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I wondered if I would lose it when the New Pornographers hit that rousing coda in "The Bleeding Heart Show" on Saturday at the Carnegie Music Hall. Just talking about that song makes me think of the wall of voices roaring out of the speakers. When I interviewed NPs bassist John Collins, I could feel myself getting a little misty. (Some songs have a way of tapping the tearducts for me; can't explain it.)

The Music Hall's bad acoustics gave me some doubt at the start of the evening. The room is really echoey and some things get lost. Like in-between-song banter. I couldn't figure out what Neko Case and Carl Newman were saying half the time. OK, I figured, the song will be fun but it won't be the emotional release that I pondered.

But, as the song - the last in the set proper - started to build up in dynamics, it felt like riding the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood Park (sorry if the metaphor is lost on you non-Pittsburghers). It pulls out of the station and slowly rounds the corner and you start to think, "Ooooooooooh boy! The first dip coming up real soon." Just a few miles down the road from Kennywood, Carl and Neko and the gang were making me feel the same way. Six out of eight of them starting wailing on that coda and while I didn't get misty, I certainly whipped my head around like I was having a paulsey. Goddam, it felt good. I don't think I'll ever get sick of that song. Or grow weary of expounding on it.

As stated in the previous blog entry, the NPs had a lot to live up to in my head, after the stellar John Vanderslice performance on Friday. The show was excellent. The sound kind of buried the guitars, mainly the lead work, but that served to boost the vocals. With Carl, Neko and keyboardist Katherine all chiming together that was definitely a good thing. The set really crossed over all of their albums, even including a couple from Mass Romantic towards the end of the set.

For an encore, they played ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" and, naturally nailed the harmonies, making it sound as full as a Jeff Lynne production.

Okkervil River opened the show. I'm not up on their music but I thought they put on a pretty good show. Several friends of mine absolutely hated them. Despised them, even. Oh well.

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