Note: I'm writing this while watching Game 4 of the World Series. The Sox have already gone up 1-0 in the 1st. If this entry ends up poorly written, full of nonsense, grammatical errors, and insanity, it's because I'm distracted by the possible 2nd World Series title in 4 years. I also have ridiculously bad hiccups.
Note 2: I also realize that I put punctuation outside of my quotes. I mostly do it when I'm quoting song titles, since I think it's lame to make it looks like the punctuation is part of the song title. I also make up words. Wanna fight about it?
On Tuesday, I made my first ever trip to the Roxy in Boston to see The New Pornographers live. TNP are one of my very favorite bands (#2 on my last.fm profile) and I'd never had the opportunity to see them play live. I wasn't expecting to be completely amazed, because I know they often tour without Dan Bejar and Neko Case, who've got their own bands to tour with. But, lo! there they all were on stage in front of me. The band played a bunch of stuff off of Challengers, the latest album, which I'd previously been underwhelmed by. But seeing the songs live added some new element to them that I hadn't noticed before. Going back and giving the album a more critical listen has definitely caused me to have a new appreciation for the album. It's not Twin Cinema, but it's really good -- and some of the quieter songs (and the Dan Bejar led "Myriad Harbour") are the best on the album and just required me to look past my hopes of a super indie pop album to just a great all around pop album.
The band mixed in songs from all 4 albums, and played every song I really wanted to hear. I was really, desperately hoping to hear "My Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" off of Mass Romantic and as we headed into what was surely the last song, I had come to the realization that I wouldn't get it. And then they busted it out and the mostly knowledgeable crowd bounced a bit and enjoyed the pure pop goodness. Highlights were easily the always phenomenal "The Bleeding Heart Show", the aforementioned "Alcoholism", the crowd faves of "Sing Me Spanish Techno" and "The Laws Have Changed", and then the most surprising of all "Adventures in Solitude" -- a song that I didn't love on the album but have gained a whole new appreciation for after hearing it live.
As usual, there was some less than goodness: the 6'4" guy with the giant block head who pushed his way in front of us so that we could see stuff only over his shoulders; the sound mix was mediocre at best, approaching atrocious; the layout of the Roxy not being nearly as good as the Paradise or TTs for a show.
Normally, that'd be the highlight of the week. But then on Friday, I got to see my favorite band Dear Leader play (#1 on my last.fm profile) play at the Paradise. This came only mere hours after Dear Leader lead singer Aaron Perrino friended me on Facebook (thanks! you rock!). So I was pretty pumped. We got there in time to catch the end of Boone and the entire set by The Russians. The Russians were pretty great, with a pretty strong Beatles vibe. And not in an annoying pretentious way, but in a good way.
But, of course, it was all about Dear Leader. And they didn't disappoint. Playing with probably the most energy I've seen them play with in a long time. They blew through just a great opening of "Nightmare Alleys" and "My Life as a Wrestler", immediately getting the crowd into the show. Making it better, for the most part, this was a Dear Leader-knowledgeable crowd. So when the band busted out "Rivarly", which I haven't heard live in a very long time, the crowd new it was special and reacted accordingly. Everyone was into it straight on through to "Raging Red" (featuring a nice Hall & Oates interlude) and "Labor On" with the crowd on backing vocals. The band came out for a first encore, then a second, which was started off with an aborted, joking attempt at "Give a Little Bit" and the now customary rocking version of "Born to Run".
Other than the group of underage hoochies (scientific term) who proceeded to grind on each other in front of us (and gave new meaning to the DL song "Everyone Looks Better in the Dark"), it was pretty much a flawless show.
Topping it all off, during the show, Aaron Perrino dropped the news that his original band, The Sheila Divine, is reuniting again on December 28th. And I've already bought myself some tickets.
So, it was pretty much a great week (aside from work, which was less great). Two great concerts, the Sox winning the first 3 games of the World Series (and currently leading Game 4 1-0).