I was pretty stoked about last night’s concert. Each of Wolf Parade’s albums have made into pretty high rotation with me, and when I last saw them live, opening for…I want to say The Walkmen, but I’m not sure that’s right, their energy was great. That carried through to last night’s show as well, although it wasn’t without fault.
I had never heard of The Mools before. They’re an indie-rock trio from Tokyo who play complicated, jazz-infused rock. I loved it. Last night I tweeted that they were lead by a “stealth puppet-master drummer”. Which I think needs clarification. Their drummer was very understated, a surprisingly still drummer. At first, I wasn’t that impressed. But then they started messing with time signatures, and the lead singer/guitarist went off on these crazy, amazing solos and I noticed, like in all truly great rock bands, it all started and ended with the drummer. So thus the puppet-master, reeling out the other parts of the band, then, as the solos come to a close, bring them back in. Definitely see them live if you can, and check out their music.
After a short intermission which really only served to heat up the theatre even more as sweaty bodies milled about in uncomfortably close quarters, Wolf Parade came out. And they rocked hard. They really, really gave it a lot, which, as an audience member is always really rewarding when you can tell a band is really bringing it. Towards the end of the night they talked about this – that playing Vancouver is sort of like playing a hometown show and historically they had choked but were really happy with this show.
The pacing was pretty good, mostly alternating older & newer tracks. If I have a quibble, and I do, but it’s a minor one, is that they don’t yet seem to know how to run a concert. They’re still a fairly young band, and haven’t been headlining for that long, and it shows. There were some overly long silences, some awkward-odd as opposed to awkward-hip interactions with the crowd.
My first show of the year last night (wow – so sad that that’s true!). But I waited for a good one. Well, an ok one, seeing LCD Soundsystem last night at Malkin Bowl. Holy Ghost! opened. They were fun, but eminently forgettable – they mined the 80’s sound, but didn’t really do too much with it. Which is a shame – I’d listened to a bunch of their stuff before the show and it had been fun. Possibly they just don’t translate live well. Or at least not in a setting like Malkin Bowl. In a tightly packed sweaty nightclub it would’ve made me want to dance.
The weather all day had been terrible, so I was expecting to get soaked, but fortunately the rain stopped on our way down, and we even saw a little blue sky. Pre-show we went for a drink at Stanley’s Park Bar & Grill, which was fun – completely full of concert goers, they a good system of a beer garden with smokies & corn-on-the-cob grilling on the barbeque.
LCD Soundsystem opened well, apologized for being so far back on the stage (they’d moved all the equipment under cover given the uncertainty of the weather – although I’ve yet to see a show at Malkin Bowl where that wasn’t the case), and got on with it. I’m a huge fan, and they played 2 of 3 songs I really wanted to hear during the set (“Daft Punk is playing at my house & “New York I love You” to end it, they didn’t play “North American Scum”), but I’m not sure I’d call it an particularly inspired set. They hit the notes, they did their thing, but they never went off the rails in either a good or bad way. It’s odd to be disappointed because an act is tight and on their game, but I want something more from a live show. Particularly from an act like LCD Soundsystem where they could so easily play with their songs a little. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I really did enjoy it, but it wasn’t stand-out by any means.