Two years ago Wolf Parade
played at this same exact venue (the Robert Welmont Theater) to a very different crowd. The theater had just opened up and probably was still feeling out its demographic. It was a Saturday show and Wolf Parade sold the house out. The original Welmont show was also the first time I had gone to see Wolf Parade, the first time they played New Jersey, and the last night of their tour at the time. Back then it was a little more shocking to see a Wolf Parade crowd erupted into a gigantic dance party. Even being as far away from the stage as I was the party vibes were still ripe by the time they reached my friends. It was that perfect mix of alcohol and high energy, and Wolf Parade literally blew the roof off the place (the ceiling actually fell down on them). They held off from playing their crowd-pleasing hit, "I'll Believe in Anything", until the encore when sasquatch came out on stage and ran around. Everyone went nuts.
The show last night was different, but no less enjoyable.
I wanted to get there early to check out Ogre You A*s
(a Japanese band playing their first show in America). When I arrived the music hall was practically empty, luckily by the time Wolf Parade was coming on stage the room had filled out, but it was no where near capacity. Maybe it was because it was a Wednesday night, or maybe it was because no one wants to come out to Jersey for a concert, I'm no expert to figure out why. Due to the smaller crowd I was able to get up close for the show, and was able to really catch all the subtle nuances of each of the band member's performance (except Arlen Thompson, the drummer. I couldn't see him from my vantage point). I could really make out Dan Boekner's spasmodic movements as he would sing, the way his body would tense up as he sang his heart out. Spencer Krug stooped like a gargoyle on his stool in front of his array of keyboards, stuck in some kind of trance while he played. As the songs escalated Krug would jump from his stool and rock it back in forth with one of his legs and head bang until the stool fell over. It was hard to miss Dante Decaro, although a less visible member of the band, he had the most self-controlled demeanor. He would coolly play bass, guitar, and keys while his fellow band mates would be busy getting carried away with the heart and soul of the music. He was even chewing gum.
Despite it not turning into the same level of dance party it did two years ago, the crowd was really into it. The band saw that enthusiasm, and funneled the energy into what would culminate as an excellent performance. Halfway through Krug looked down at the sweaty dancing crowd and said "I wish we were all in a smaller room."
The quality of performance from one song to the next was terrific and consistent. We were even treated with "Semi-Precious Stones", a recently released b-side from their 2010 album Expo 86
. Everyone loved hearing "This Heart's on Fire" back to back with "I'll Believe in Anything", amidst much jumping and clamor. I was most looking forward to hearing "Kissing the Beehive" I knew it would be the last song before their encore (I mean how could you that song up with anything but a break in the music?). I have to say, Wolf Parade really delivered on this song, but unfortunately the crowd just wasn't drunk enough to continue going completely nuts during this 10 minute rock-ballad (it does get kind of droney). But that hardly mattered, the band totally killed it on the song and gave it their all. When they came out for their encore they weren't accompanied by a sasquatch, but they did play "Language City" and I guess rested up enough because they really went crazy for that song. To end the night they played "Fancy Claps" (they never play that song!) which was a real treat.
The band called it a night even though the crowd was ripe for more. We all stood and cheered while the house turned the music and lights back on. We certainly could have lasted at least another two songs, but then again I guess it was a Wednesday night, and it's always best to leave wanting more.
is out now. -reuben meltzer
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MP3: "Ghost Pressure" (Expo 86)
Wolf Parade on Myspace