Show report: New Pornographers at the Orpheum

New Pornographers played the Orpheum last night.

  • Boston’s “Foreplay” on the sound system before the band comes on.  Comes off as witty.
  • On the records Dan Bejar’s singing doesn’t stand out as much as it does live.  Something about the way he approaches the microphone makes him look like he’s always about to rap rather than sing.  Bejar leaves the stage during the songs he’s not singing.  This seems churlish to me.  He couldn’t just stand there and bang a tambourine on his hip?
  • “My Slow Descent into Alcoholism,” the best song they ever wrote — probably my favorite song anybody released last decade — appears in the encore.  It is great, but all live versions lack the precision which is part of the glory of the studio version — precision married to absolutely unmoderated rocking-out-ness.  See: 
  • Kathryn Calder, once an occasional vocal stand-in for Neko Case, is now a full member of the band, playing keyboards and singing backup.  Both facially and in manner she reminds me very powerfully of Doris Finsecker.



  • Show ends with “Testament to Youth in Verse.”  Openers the Dodos come on stage, everybody’s singing the big “no no no…” at the end of the song, swaying, waving goodbye, drinking beers.  The cellist in the back picks up a saxophone.  It’s an almost exact replica of the credit sequence of Saturday Night Live. On purpose?
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6 thoughts on “Show report: New Pornographers at the Orpheum

  1. Larry says:

    “Slow Descent” wouldn’t crack my top ten New Porn songs:

    Mass Romantic
    Electric Version
    From Blown Speakers
    The Laws Have Changed
    The End of Medicine
    Miss Teen Wordpower
    These Are the Fables
    All the Old Showstoppers
    Adventures in Solitude

  2. JSE says:

    Great songs all. Nonetheless: crazy talk.

  3. onymous says:

    “Slow Descent” is indeed a great song.

    Dan has to wander off stage in between songs; otherwise he wouldn’t be so thoroughly drunk when he does come on stage. I saw one of their shows where they had to shout for a few minutes to get him onto the stage, and when he finally emerged, he appeared so drunk as to be barely able to stand. Nonetheless, he perked up as soon as the music started, and his singing was flawless.

    I’m a sort of obsessive fan of Destroyer, though, so Dan can do no wrong in my book.

  4. Tom says:

    Where is Sing Me Spanish Techno??????

  5. JSE says:

    I don’t know where “Sing Me Spanish Techno” is on Larry’s list, but it was the show-opener here in Madison.

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