When At Mt. Zoomer first hit the shelves, Wolf Parade played Terminal Five and it was the first time I'd seen them playing in such a big room. They were pretty polished as they dove into the depths of a complicated set list, different than the drunken messes I'd heard about from their early days. I was hooked. Now Expo 86 has arrived, and it's an infinitely more performance oriented collection of songs (the band perfected playing each of them live before laying them down on tape). The release brought Wolf Parade back to New York, and once again I strapped up and headed out to the desolate West Side of Midtown to see them. I know they are a stereotypically "hipster" band to like, especially to people who've never listened to them (if you haven't, stop reading and go buy their music). Anyone who would mock this act or dismiss them as some sort of Williamsburg fad like chillwave is absolutely out of their mind. These guys are some of the most promising and talented musicians I can name. For a long time fan like me, this concert was a religious experience.
Dan and Spencer look and sound better than ever; animated, alert, giddy to be playing their music for a room lined with screaming people from all walks of the city. I couldn't figure out the audience, Wolf Parade seems to have expanded beyond a stereotypical listener. I was happy to see the band's live set still speeds the slower songs up a bit (noticeably so), suggesting a kind of inherent energy and chemistry in each number. Most importantly, the mix of old and new was perfect... I heard all the songs I went in to the show wanting to hear. As Dan and Spencer alternated lead vocal duties, I realized I cared less and less who was at the helm, if either... they finally seem to work in tandem and truly enjoy it. Watching them was as much fun as hearing them, and boy did everything sound great.
People were singing along, screaming and dancing, even moshing in the front. Simply put, it was freaking awesome. Towards the end, the two (Spencer and Dan) met in the middle of the stage for a quick high-five and an embrace, as if to say, "sh*t man, we really did it". It's the kind of moment you remember even if you don't mean to, and I'm pretty sure I'll never forget it. -joe puglisi