[LIVE REVIEW] Wolf Parade at Variety Playhouse, 11/12/2010 (setlist)

Review, more pics, and the setlist after the jump.

I take Wolf Parade for granted. I feel bad about it, but I do. I don’t think I’m alone, either, and it probably has something to do with the band’s sudden rise to prominence around the release of their debut. Apologies to the Queen Mary was a buzzed about album that could actually support the hype, and the band found themselves instant critical favorites and household names in the indie rock scene. They hit an enviably high peak right out of the gate; where do you go from that?

The band’s solution has been to remain remarkably consistent. Their two subsequent albums might not equal Apologies, but they haven’t had nearly the same post-debut struggles that have plagued bands like Interpol or Band of Horses or any other band that has seen a severe drop in critical standing following a widely acclaimed introduction. If Apologies hadn’t gotten there first, I have no doubt that either At Mount Zoomer or Expo 86 could have been their break out album.

Consistency isn’t very sexy, though, so it’s been easy to take them for granted. When Expo 86 was released this summer, their third album in the last 6 years, I expected to like it. I just didn’t expect to find it among the year’s best. It felt like a rediscovery, and seeing them at Pitchfork in July only drove the point home. I remembered that I was a Wolf Parade fan.

Their set Friday night at Variety Playhouse was split pretty evenly amongst all three albums. It was split evenly between the band’s two vocalists, too. There were six Spencer Krug tracks to match the six sang by Dan Boeckner, plus the one track in their catalog where they share lead vocals (“Kissing the Beehive”). It was good overview of their career to this point.

It’s worth noting, however, that the group that recorded and is touring behind Expo 86 is a slightly different permutation of the band: Hadji Bakara left to get a PhD, and the various electronics he contributed to the band are gone, too. It has a noticeable effect on the performances of the old songs, particularly the ones from At Mount Zoomer: “Soldier’s Grin” and “California Dreamer” have the more muscular sound of new songs like “Palm Road,” with Boeckner’s guitar doing more of the heavy lifting than it does on the recordings. It’s actually impressive that the band has decided to carry on as a four piece without the addition of a touring member to fill in Bakara’s parts, and it’s a testament to their chemistry that it never sounds like something’s missing.

My only real disappointment was that they didn’t play “Pobody’s Nerfect,” my favorite track off the new record. Maybe next time.


Cloud Shadow on the Mountain

Soldier’s Grin

What Did my Lover Say?

Ghost Pressure

Dear Sons and Daughter of Hungry Ghosts

This Heart’s On Fire

I’ll Believe in Anything

Fine Young Cannibals


Palm Road

California Dreamer

You Are a Runner, I Am My Father’s Son

Shine a Light

Kissing the Beehive

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