I’d never been to Union Transfer, but I’d heard nothing but good
things about it. Since I love The New Pornographers' new record so much, the
time was ripe to go.
It’s a great place: clean, comfortable, neat. I need handicapped
seating, as i can’t stand for long periods of time anymore, and the staff
provided me with a chair, with excellent sight lines. I had a nice conversation
with a woman with a similar condition sitting next to me.
Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield, joined by a bass player. I have
her last two albums and really like them. Katie didn’t disappoint with her
noisy, electric folk/rock and good lyrics, and sang very winningly. A perfect
TNP also didn’t disappoint. I’d wondered how they’d sound live,
and how slick. As great as Whiteout Conditions is, it’s also the closest to the
mainstream, at least the AAA radio mainstream, which has embraced the single
High Ticket Attractions.
With the addition of new member Simi, who plays the violin very
well, the band is now a seven piece, with Carl Newman and Todd Fancey on
guitars, Blaine Thurier and Kathryn Calder onkeyboards, John Collins on bass, Joe Seiders on drums, and
Neko Case on percussion. Carl, Neko, Kathryn, and Simi sing four-part harmony.
And wow, what harmonies! Just terrific. Blaine Thurier played harmonica on one
song, and Kathryn played accordion. I loved everything they played. The energy
didn’t let up for a moment. High spirited fun all around.
They played songs from every album, even one of Dan Bejar’s,
Testament To Youth In Verse, though he is on hiatus from TNP. Neko, who was
really someone to behold, put the crowd under her spell, with her sparkly
blouse causing Carl to remark at one point that it was reflecting off the walls
of the bar. During the encore they were funny as anything. Somehow Neko’s and
Carl’s banter evolved from Neko saying they reminded her of Donnie and Marie
Osmond on their TV show, to Neko joking that she lost her virginity to Carl
after 46 years.