Saturday, August 7, 2010

There's no other show like it 'round here

Though it was a tough call, The New Pornographers edged out The National in my choice of August 4th concerts.  Geography was the major deciding factor: The New Pornographers were coming to me, after all.  It was also the night before a big work deadline, and Tamala and Rob were coming to town.  As if I needed any further motivation,  I was eager to see another show on this tour with Neko Case and Dan Bejar.

The NP's didn't disappoint, delivering an energetic show at the Orpheum.  It was hot inside, prompting the installation of a large fan at the front of the stage near the beginning of the night.  This was a relief to ... well, Carl Newman, who was pretty much the only person who could feel it.  Dan, too, when he took a turn on vocals.  The New Pornographers don't vary their setlists as much as some bands, but we heard a couple of songs in Madison that hadn't been played in Milwaukee: "Go Places," and the deep cut from 2003, "July Jones."  The latter was a request from Neko, so thanks, Neko!  As for the rest of the songs, I was happy to hear them again.  I don't think I'll ever tire of singing along to "The Bleeding Heart Show," and there's just something fitting about "The Slow Descent into Alcoholism" being played on State Street.

The Dodos opened the show, as in June, and their vibraphone player returned later in the evening.  He first reappeared behind us in the crowd during "Use It," dancing and cheering like a madman, much to the amusement of audience and band.  Neko was incapacitated by laughter for part of the song.  Later he took a seat on a riser next to the stage and watched closely from his perch, finally joining the band on stage (along with the Dodos' drummer) for "Testament to Youth in Verse." This was one of the Dodos' final shows with the NP's, so it was nice to see the cross-band participation on both ends: Kurt Dahle also came out and drummed on one of the Dodos' songs.  

I would have enjoyed the show no matter what, but I have to mention the most amazing thing about the concert for me; something that wasn't even directly related to The New Pornographers.  The show was at the Orpheum ... and the stage was low.  Every concert I've seen at the Orpheum over the past ten years has featured a seven-foot stage, necessitated by the layout of the balcony.  But on Wednesday, the balcony was closed.  And the stage was waist-high.  If this could happen every night, I'd look forward to Orpheum shows so much more.

After the concert I purchased a show poster, because I didn't have a New Pornographers poster yet.  It will join the lovely and extensive collection of posters that lives in the master closet, unframed.  Though I'm not sure when I'll see The New Pornographers again, I return to the Orpheum next month.  I don't suppose there's much hope that the balcony will be closed for The National, but a girl can dream.

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