Wolf Parade, Chad VanGaalen

The Independent, San Francisco 1/6/06

Music Reviews Wolf Parade
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Wolf Parade, Chad VanGaalen

(Above: Wolf Parade. Photo by Kjersti Egerdahl)

Iggy Pop and Ben Gibbard don’t seem like they’d be the coziest of bandmates, but Montreal’s Wolf Parade offers a glimpse of what it might be like if their energies united.

Dan Boekner’s smoke-rough growl and Spencer Krug’s lighter, reedy tones—rather than dueling—deepen each other. The drive and lust of garage rock pushes alongside the emotional depth and melody that propels each song.

On the last stop of the band’s U.S. tour, the mood was a bit less ambitious than on its recent Sub Pop release Apologies to the Queen Mary, but relaxed moments didn’t keep the band from doing its meatiest songs justice. Wolf Parade started the set by joining opener, labelmate and fellow Canadian, Chad VanGaalen on an earnestly cacophonous cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”During the show, Boekner held tight to his vices: Maker’s Mark and illegal indoor smoking. Strangely, his cigarettes were an indicator of the set’s most powerful songs—he lit up before launching into “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son” and again before “I’ll Believe in Anything.” Both were grand, thunderous songs, rooted by Arlen Thompson’s full-throated drums (also heard on the Arcade Fire’s Funeral) and the interplay of the two lead vocalists. Boekner took lead vocals on “I’ll Believe…,” letting Krug handle the high end, giving the song a weary yet desperate edge.

Though the performance wasn’t Wolf Parade’s tightest, the audience demanded an encore, and Boekner returned to the stage with appreciation: “It’s been a long, stupid-ass trip for us and you’ve been super, super nice.” The band encored with another cover, inviting all the musicians who’d played that night for Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” It was a friendly gesture, but more for the musicians than the audience—the schmaltzy jam killed the energy and momentum that had been slowly building all night. Even though the noisy, drawn-out encore let things slide a bit, fans seemed perfectly happy to wind down together.

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