Tag: Wolf Parade

Fleet Foxes-Live at the Ladies Literary Club 10-09-2008

Fleet Foxes-Live at the Ladies Literary Club 10-09-2008

Fleet Foxes Live at the Ladies Literary Club

Ladies Literary Club Outside Entrance Picture

Laura and I visited the Ladies Literary club of Calvin College to see what Pitchfork has called the baroque folk rock band Fleet Foxes. The five piece played a succinct but moving one hour set in downtown Grand Rapids Michigan.

The venue is a beautiful Victorian building with a small stage. It seats around 250 people. It was great to be so close. After the Sigur Ros show I was frustrated because I was always trying to get somewhere where I could see.

The band played through most of their small (so far catalog) one full length album and one EP. The harmonies were dead on throughout the set. It was great to hear a band focusing so much on vocals and harmonies. They seemed very comfortable and chatted amiably with the crowd. They asked if it seemed funny to be sitting. I remembered Kevin Drew’s comments at the Broken Social Scene show from earlier this year. The band should have just told everybody to just stand up.

The video of Drops in the River included, *sigh* does not do the sound justice. I’d recommend checking out My Brightest Diamond in this venue. I have prior commitments, but the setting would be ideal.

Fleet Foxes, Drops in the River Live Grand Rapids 10.09.2008 from keith wikle on Vimeo.

This may be the last live show we see for a while. We’ve seen quite a bit of live music this year.

Sigur Ros
Wolf Parade
Okkervil River and the New Pornographers, and the National
Tyler Ramsey and Band of Horses
And of course Broken Social Scene
We also saw Mason Jennings

It’s been a good year for live music!!!

Wolf Parade Live Review Pontiac Crofoot Ballroom Pontiac Michigan

Wolf Parade Live Review Pontiac Crofoot Ballroom Pontiac Michigan

Live Wolf Parade Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac Michigan July 7th 2008

Check out the encore video of I’ll Believe in Anything!!!

Nice shorts Spencer, look out Ian Mackaye

I saw Wolf Parade live back in 2006. Wolf Parade played the the now Defunct Kraftbrau brewery. It was a fantastic show, probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The Crofoot show was also excellent. I brought Gabriel (my 11 year old son) despite me saying I didn’t think I should take him to this show.

Gabriel who has listened to all of Wolf Parade’s two albums, and all of the Sunset Rubdown material really wanted to come. He was actually even better behaved for this show than he was for the other two. Not that he did anything wrong at the last two, he was just more engaged. He was dancing like a maniac and singing along, people in the crowd kept giving him high fives, and cheering him on. I told him not to get too big of a head about it. But I doubt that sunk in.

The show consisted of a good mix of the first Album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, and the new material from At Mount Zoomer. (Set list is below). The dynamics of the band are essentially the same as last time, except that Dante didn’t get an allergic reaction to something and have to be rushed off to the hospital like he did last time.

Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade Making his Guitar Face

My main observation is that Dan Boekner, the guitarist and singer may be part of a dying breed. He is so not phoning it in. You rarely get to see a band get into it anymore. Folks are so laid back, so casual, that to seem enthusiastic might be seen as unhip, uncool, and passe. I applaud Dan’s spastic twitching, and spasmodic jerking around on stage. This is why you go to a show, to feed of all of the energy. Rock and Roll is about the angst, the anger, the happiness, and the bombastic enthusiasim. That is what I go to see, not to passively watch some aging hipster lull me to sleep. So hopefully not too many people show him the guitar face he is making in this picture.

A lot of credit and interest the media seems to go to Spencer Krug for Wolf Parade. Spencer is terrific. The dynamics and the energy for Wolf Parade seem to come from the different approaches to song writing and performing. Spencer seems more verbose, prosaic, and maybe even a little Joycean in his approach to song writing. Without making a wild analogy, he almost seems like Edward Ka Spel from the Legendary Pink dots, or dare I say it a young Peter Gabriel. And Dan Boeckner seems more focused on straightforward punk rock in the vein of Fugazi, The Clash, The Jam, Iggy and the Stooges, or any number of other guitar bass and drums arrangements. I like both of these, but the meshing of the two seems to make it a one stop shop. Without Dan Boeckner, this band would just be a rocky version of Sunset Rubdown which might be interesting, but not as good. Now that I’ve said the punk rock thing about Dan Boeckner though, it must be said that his Handsome Furs side project has a lot of synthesizers and electronica. But it is more the energy than the instruments used.

The sound at the beginning of the show was a little off, we were getting all bass and no vocals. I think it had to do with being at the back of the audience, where the bass had all the walls to bounce off of. I told the audio engineer, and she seemed to correct it pretty quickly.

The highlights from the show for me were hearing the new songs from At Mount Zoomer, which didn’t initially hit me. But Apologies for the Queen Mary was the same way. I really enjoyed Call it a Ritual and Soldier’s Grin live. I always love This Heart’s on Fire and Shine a Light as well. The encore was stunning with a blending of I’ll believe in Anything, and Fancy Claps. To further drive home the push-pull effect of the band here is another video, (unfortunately not from the crofoot).

Shine a Light-Wolf Parade Video

Anyone who’s worked nine to five knows this pain:

I keep my head up tight
I know my plans at night
And I don’t sleep I don’t sleep I don’t sleep ’til it’s light
Some folks float some are buried alive
There is an awful sound
This haunted town
It will not it will not it will not just be quiet
Some ghosts sink some will get called to the light

I spend boring hours in the office tower
In a bus on a bus back home to you and
That’s fine I’m barely alive
It’s just a matter of time
No one gets out alive
And I’m content, I’m content, I’m content to be quiet
Some will sink some will get called to the light

You know our hearts beat time out very slowly
You know our hearts beat time they’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive
You know our hearts beat time out very slowly
You know our hearts beat time they’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive

I keep my head up tight
I make my plans at night
And I don’t sleep I don’t sleep I don’t sleep ’til it’s light
Some folks float and some are buried alive
With our little boots, we built another world
Gonna chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain to the light
That’s fine our blood is alive

You know our hearts beat time out very slowly
You know our hearts beat time they’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive

Set List
Wolf Parade, The Crofoot-Pontiac, Michigan 07/07/2008
Language City
Call It A Ritual
The Grey Estates
Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts
Soldier’s Grin
An Animal In Your Care
Fine Young Cannibals
Grounds For Divorce
Shine A Light
California Dreamer
This Heart’s On Fire
Kissing The Beehive

It’s A Curse
I’ll Believe In Anything
Fancy Claps

Shut Up I am Dreaming

Shut Up I am Dreaming

Laura and I went to the people’s republic of Ann Arbor for a show last night. Subset Rubdown, and Xiu Xiu were slotted together to play the Blind Pig.

*Rant one*
Turns out some sort of a miscommunication with the booking agent happened. The doors weren’t open until 8:00. Sunset Rubdown got to play for forty minutes, and Xiu Xiu got to play for twenty-five. Then the house lights came up and big men in tight tee-shirts with big muscles began bullying us out the door. Apparently they booked another show to start right after Sunset Rubdown and Xiu Xiu at 10:15. Maybe this was communicated to the two bands, maybe it wasn’t, don’t know. Overall it was the suckiest arrangement I’ve ever heard of for a show, other than Shane MacGowan being too drunk to play with the Pogues. So if anyone from the Blind Pig reads this… perhaps a little consideration should have been given to us sorry bastards who drove two hours to see the show, never mind us poor over thirty suckers who have to acquire babysitters through underhanded deals with Mephistopheles. Ok rant one over. On to rant two.

*Rant two*
Small club shows should be non-smoking for the love of all that is holy. That club was so filled with cigarette smoke I almost died. The oxygen quality in a West Virginia coal mine might be better. I’ve never been tempted closer to injuring a random stranger than when they lit up in front of me for the fourth time in 10 minutes when the room was already so smoky it had gone past gaseous to solid. Ok rant two over.

Sunset Rubdown was spectacular. Much like Wolf Parade a surprise terrific show. Sunset Rubdown was actually the first band of Spencer Krug (see photo) who went on to be in Wolf Parade. The album Shut Up I am Dreaming was a sequel to _Snake’s got a Leg_ . The album is pretty good, but the songs really sound great live. _Stadiums and Shrines II_ was absolutely stellar, the drums really came alive, and the second keyboard player in the band provided a lot of depth that got lost on the record. _Us Ones in-between_ was a so-so album recording, but beautifully recreated live. The piano notes struck perfectly against that spot on your spine where music sort of tugs at your heart. You can’t ask for better in 45 minutes.

Xiu Xiu (pronounced eloquently by hipsters as “shoo-shoo”) Had a myriad of difficulties with sound, but managed to squeeze out twenty-five minutes of great music, including one new order cover. Xiu Xiu is the sort of music you never want your teenagers to find on i-tunes, it is dissonant, angsty and brash. I really like it, it is the band I needed when I was 15 to let me know someone could be more isolated and self-loathing than me. It is Joy Division on steroids with bells on, thrown down a rocky hill. Xiu Xiu has some great hooks and melodies too. Jamie Stewarts breathy vocals are combined with bizarre instrumentation: such as vibraphones, autoharp, and harmonium. The whole show was accompanied by a drum machine and a drummer. _I Broke Up_ was played with a frenetic intensity that may have been borne out of frustration with the sound check. Or it is par for the course. It was a great, if brief demonstration of energy and professionalism considering the environment. I really love a song called _Clowne Towne_, but they never played it, maybe next time.

I chuckle at Ann Arbor, and other big cities, the kids seem so jaded to what is great music. They talk and don’t listen, not appreciating what they see and hear I think because of it’s ubiquity. Where as we outlanders, peasants from Kalamazoo are so grateful when someone graces our rust belt city with a show, we genuflect and then begin our whirling dervish dance in thanks.

*Sunset Rubdown-Us Ones in Between*

You are a waterfall
Waiting inside a well
You are a wrecking ball
Before the building fell
And every lightning rod
Has got to watch the storm cloud come.

And I’ve heard of pious men
And I’ve heard of dirty fiends
But you don’t often hear
Of us ones in between
And I’ve heard of creatures
Who eat their babies;
And I wonder if they stop
To think about the taste.

I saw the sun go down
Outside of Arkansas;
And I saw the sun come up
Somewhere in Illinois.
And in the darkness
I taught myself to hate.
But where were you, oh where were you?
And where the fuck did the sun go?

And I am a creature.
And I am survivin’.
And I want to be alone
But I want your body.
So when you eat me,
Mother and baby,
Oh baby, mother me,
Before you eat me.

And you should always pass
When you get the inside lane.
Don’t pull your hair out;
I won’t pull my hair out.
For I have never seen the sun
That did not bury his fears in the side of the world.
And the day is done.

You are a waterfall
Waiting inside a well
You are a wrecking ball
Before the building fell
And I will mutter like a lover
Who speaks in tongues, oh he speaks in tongues.
Oh I speak in tongues.

(She’s your mother; she’s got a lovely tongue.)

*Xiu Xiu-Clowne Towne*

Up and down through what you thought would be your future
Became the dark reminder of
What a rash and inconsistent faith you had
In loving your true self and your true love
Clowne towne no shelter
Clowne towne no anything
Clowne towne single angel
Clowne towne no exit
Your true father smashed his hands through the glass
And failed out of the priviledged life of his dream
Your true love has drunk herself into not being able to pay her rent
Or keeping her own word to her own self
Your true brother has betrayed you over and over
And looked you in the eye
Your true self has become weak and alone and annoying
And a true ridiculous dumb-ass
Clowne towne revealing nothing
Clowne towne a flock of coots
Clowne towne a single beauty
Clowne towne a big dumb kid.

I am my Father’s son and you are a runner

I am my Father’s son and you are a runner

Ran 6 miles in 49:55 yesterday. I hit it out of the blocks up and down windy Kalamazoo hills until my breath came in ragged gasps. I didn’t want to stop, every hill I saw, I wanted to paint my foot prints on, burn the rubber down to say “I ran this hill at top speed once.” Confidence and assurance in your own abilities comes so infrequently in adult life, often because of interactions with other people. Running is solo, you and the path is all there is. No lies, no interdependencies, no assumptions, you can either do it or you can’t. I take pride in my mini accomplishments, because no matter how down the rest of life gets, no can take them away, and the obstacles I set for myself are only at the limit of my body, and my mental discipline. While this is probably overly dramatic, it is great to pass a series of college kids 1/3 your age at top speed uphill.

Wolf Parade-Lyrics
I got a number on me
I got a number
Won’t make it through the high noon sun
I am my father’s son
I am my father’s son
His bed is made
I was a hero
Early in the morning
I ain’t no hero
In the night
I am my father’s son
And I’ll build a house inside of you
I’ll go in through the mouth
I’ll draw three figures on your heart
One of them will be me as a boy
One of them will be me
One of them will be me watching you run
watching you run
Into the high noon sun
Watching you run
Farther than guns will go
You are a runner
With a stolen voice
And you are a runner
And I am my father’s son
I am my father’s son
I am my father’s son

Kalamazoo are you ready to Rock!

Kalamazoo are you ready to Rock!

Sometimes you forget why being young and full of energy is so much fun. And then you go out till two in the morning to see live music. I’ve been to see some stellar shows this year, Sigur Ros, Tom Waits, and later on I will see the Decemberists too. Oddly enough seeing Wolf Parade tops the list for sheer energy. One of the band members had an allergy attack and had to go to the hospital to get 500cc’s of epinephrine, (wow do I empathise). They played for over an hour anyway.

Simply put it is so cool to feel the floor shake, the glasses rattling on the bar, and then watch the room jump. I love that feeling at rock shows where you don’t know what is going to happen. Of course there is a limited range of variables. But having been to shows where: everyone sits in their seat, no one dances, and that token dorky white guy doesn’t do that crazy arm pumping thing, no one needlessly takes off their shirt, no one falls down drunk; can you really call it rock and roll?

I say no.