A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Wrapup: The New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8/27/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Saturday August 28, 2010

The New Pornographers, on tour in support of their May release Together, made their first-ever visit to Burlington last night.  Conspicuously missing (empty microphone/spot on stage and all) was Neko Case, who happens to live in Vermont these days.  Nobody spoke about it, and the lone shout of “where’s Neko” was met a wall of rock.  I guess that’s all I have to say about it, because I haven’t been able to dig anything up, and to be honest, I thought the show was wonderful anyhow.

Opening was Burlington’s own Maryse Smith, recently profiled by Dan Bolles in 7Days.  While we were waiting in line to get in, the Higher Ground owner came out from the ballroom and told everyone to get in there quickly because the opener was amazing.  He wasn’t lying.  I thoroughly enjoyed her set, and hope to see more of her and her backing band around the Burlington area soon.

Maryse Smith @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

The New Pornographers played a good mix of music from various releases, including “The Slow Descent into Alcoholism” off their nearly 10-year-old debut album Mass Romantic and “Crash Years” and “Your Hands (Together)”, a couple of my favorites off their latest release.

Kathryn Calder of The New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

While I do think there was some level of anticipation/disappointment in the audience regarding Neko, it was pretty apparent that the band worked their way right through it.  Kathryn Calder, the female half of the lead vocalists (Carl [A.C.] Newman being the male half) definitely stood out to me.  While Newman’s stage presence and slurry banter kept the audience engaged between songs (he played only 5 strings on guitar for a good chunk of the show, and had some ongoing conversations about it), it was definitely Calder’s vocals that I enjoyed the most.

Carl Newman of New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

The audience (a mixture of 30 and 40 somethings, from what I could tell) was both sizable and very into the show, which was great to see.  The room felt full though there was plenty of room to move around, and very little jostling for an ever-closer spot.  Though I do want to say that just because your friends get there early and stake out a good spot does not therefore give you and 10 others the right to join them and push other people out of the way.  Simple courtesy is too often overlooked.

New Pornographers @ Higher Ground BallroomAnyhow, the catchy hooks, rocking guitars and vibrant pop energy of The New Pornographers were all on display last night, and I look forward to catching them again.

Dan Bolles reports that Neko had food poisoning…mystery solved.

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 5, 2010

I’ve been really looking forward to this week for quite a while. 5 years, to be exact. It was way back in 2005 that Broken Social Scene last graced my ears with a new album (that self-titled album, coincidentally, still stands as my favorite of this decade). Anyhow, yesterday I picked up the new Broken Social Scene album “Forgiveness Rock Record” as well as “Together” from The New Pornographers, “Heaven Is Whenever” from The Hold Steady and “A Balloon Called Moaning” from The Joy Formidable.

Forgiveness Rock Record is easily the best album of the year. I’ll write a more formal review of it at some point in the near future. But until then, just go buy it. Seriously. Right now.

I’ve never been much of a fan of The New Pornographers, but I really got into A.C. Newman’s solo album “Get Guilty” from 2009, so I figured I’d give them a try, and I have to say that I love this album. Maybe Neko Case, who recently moved to VT, can convince the band to come to Burlington for a show?

The Hold Steady album is a significant improvement from their last effort (which was almost enough to make me give up on them altogether), and definitely a departure from their signature sound without completely redefining who they are. The Joy Formidable album is also definitely worth picking up.

p.s. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound tonight at Monkey House in Winooski – don’t miss it!

Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever The Joy Formidable - A Balloon Called Moaning The New Pornographer - Together

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.