In support of The New Pornographers latest album, Challengers (Matador Records), the Canadians have come to rock the Californians on a two night stint at the Henry Fonda Music Box in LA. As an understanding fan, I've come to terms with the fact that Neko Case is a busy gal that can't always be there. On this fine Wednesday night, however, lo and behold, there she is in all her redheaded glory, Miss Neko Case herself.
The thing that makes The New Pornographers great is their three-part harmony. Live shows always tend to lack in harmonious perfection, but A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Kathryn Calder bring it like a church choir. Another part-time player, Danny Bejar, aka Destroyer, even made it out to mesmerize the crowd. The whole Pornographer gang was there, and in full force with their hypnotizing melodies, "ooh's" and "ahh's," and the standard head-bobbing affair.
Newman lisped his way through some Hollywood centered stage banter; Britney Spears, TV celebrities, fighting actors, etc. Before most songs, he'd say, "This one's (song name). Here we go!" It was very cute, and the lisp helped in the charm.
In case you forgot whom you were there to see, a sign lit up every once in while. In bright white lights, "NEW PORNOGRAPHERS" would illuminate the whole venue. The gang sang a nice mix of old and new. The unfamiliar new songs like "My Rights Vs. Yours" and crowd favorites like "Spanish Techno" and "Twin Cinema." All songs, of course, riddled with their signature three-part harmony. This is something I can never get over. Their harmonies are just so perfect! It's just as good, if not better than listening to the album in my car.
The band came out and did the standard three song encore. They called out for suggestions before the second song, where the normally relaxed audience suddenly became a violent mob screaming angrily for their favorite songs. All I wanted to hear was "Jessica Numbers." No such luck. Maybe they'll play it the next night...when I won't be there. Bummer.
All in all, The New Pornographers played a solid show with no flash, just like a good Canadian band is supposed to.
The New Pornographers