Live Review: Wolf Parade at Fillmore
The boys from Montreal stopped by the famous Fillmore on 8/24 with Frog Eyes. Is there a better music scene right now? Montreal rock is putting out some of the best working class, heartfelt, art rock, indie, whatever you want to call it! If you aren’t listening, it sounds like a thinking man’s Killers. Arcade Fire, The Stills, Broken Social Scene, Think About Life, Sunset Rubdown, and Frog Eyes (who opened the show) have all contributed important albums to the thriving musical landscape.
Frog Eyes opening for Wolf Parade is like the chicken opening for the egg. This band is so closely linked to Wolf Parade that former member, the ridiculously talented Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade, (and frontman of maybe the best release of this year: Sunset Rubdown’s Shut up I’m Dreaming) still plays the keyboard and serves as the back up vocalist in Frog Eyes. Sound confusing? It kind of is. The Canadian indie pop scene is more of a collective between these bands that have tremendous respect for each other. Krug has played in the New Pornographers side project, Destroyer, as has Frog Eyes. While Wolf Parade’s version of the Montreal sound is accessible, Frog Eyes’ take is complex and challenging. Heads weren’t nodding during their performance, but the crowd was definitely at attention. Frog Eyes was able to create the Montreal sound perfectly, hitting the audience with a dense wall of sound that was emotive, and dark. Individual instruments bled into each other to form something greater than themselves.
Wolf Parade wasted no time jumping into crowd favorite “Shine a Light” which had the sold out show jumping. They immediately got the crowd ruckus and a little violent. Co-lead vocalist Dan Broekner sounds a bit like Kurt Cobain, a gravely voice that can break on command as he’s thrashing on his guitar. His songs from last year’s classic Apologies to Queen Mary such a “Shine a Light” and “Modern World” were all greeted with heavy fanfare (Broekner’s songs are the more accessible of the two songwriters). Krug’s songs “I Am a Runner,” and especially, “I’ll Believe Anything” got the audience in an almost rabid emotional state. The guy is killing himself, playing the music just pours out of him onto his keyboard. You would never know Krug packs such a wallop by looking at him or even listening to him talk. With a face that remotely resembles Leo Dicaprio and a clean cut image, his voice belts out emotive keys and harmony like Bowie with a little more bass to it. Matched with Broekner’s skinny frame, they complement each other perfectly. A whole album of Krug is a lot (Sunset Rubdown), but he is truly compelling.
Hopefully these guys will be writing songs together for a long time to come. Wolf Parade is far from a two-man show, however. Arlen Thompson kills it on the drums, Donte Decaro is great on the guitar and plays a mean chime (hitting it so hard that the chimes started flying off into the crowd) and Hadji Bakara looks extremely busy playing the keyboard. The sound that they create as a unit is something special, indeed.
The show was bursting with energy, it would have been tough to be disappointed. The guys played with as much enthusiasm as they did when I saw them at Coachella in May, but without the techinacal problems of that show. They finished with the rousing “This Hearts on Fire” and the somewhat over cooked “Dinner Bells.” The audience seemed enthralled and excited as they clapped and danced along. A great show all around, highly recommended. Long Live Wolf Parade.
- Review submitted by Jeff Bracco.