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Friday, November 02, 2007

11/1/07: The New Pornograhers and Spoon - Houston, TX

Technically, Spoon was the headliner last night. They played last, played more songs than any of the other acts, and even did an encore. But if you ask me, The New Pornographers stole the show last night. Of course, if you were to ask me who I showed up to see, I wouldn't tell you I was there to see Spoon. Hell, I don't even like Spoon that much. But November 1, 2007 was a great night even if The New Pornographers weren't the headliners.

The evening began with the real opening act, Emma Pollock. This Scottish singer used to front the band Delgados, but she has since become a rather decent solo artist. This was my first time hearing her material, and I have to admit that I was very impressed with what I heard. She has a thick Scottish accent when in conversation, but it doesn't come through at all when she's singing (and her voice is just great!). Her new album is entitled Watch the Fireworks, and is available now. Last night was also her first encounter with Shiner Bock, and in her words, "It gets a thumbs up from me and the guy in the front row." Good for her!

After about 25 minutes of waiting, The New Pornographers hit the stage (yay!). They opened with "All of the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth," a perfect selection. The band played with such energy, that it was absolutely impossible to not get into it. Carl Newman and Neko Case sounded absolutely perfect together, and Katheryn Caler held her own with equally impressive vocals.
I was surprised to see every member of the band there, since the word on the street is that they don't often all tour together. Dan Bejar even made an appearance, though he only came on stage for the songs in which he lends his vocals ("Myriad Harbor," "Jackie Dressed In Cobras," and "Spirit of Giving"). On that note, I was really surprised to find that the song that moved me the most was not "Challengers" but "Spirit of Giving." Say what you want about Bejar's voice and style, but he totally nailed the song, and hearing Neko, Carl, and Katheryn singing harmony to Bejar's voice was absolutely breathtaking! All but two of the band's songs were from Twin Cinema or Challengers, and I wouldn't have it any other way!
And then I was ready to go. But alas, I was right against the stage and there was a sea of people behind me. Plus, I kinda wanted to hear a few of the better Spoon songs. So I stuck it out. I'm proud of me.
The band played with a lot of energy and Britt Daniel's voice is just as perfect as it is on the band's albums. The band was kind enough to set up a keyboard directly in front of me, really obstructing my view and ruining my chances of getting some decent pictures. My favorite song of the night was "Don't Make Me a Target," as the band just completely let loose. At one point Britt was screaming into the mic, "No don't make me a target!" and I was just blown away by how effective it was.
The show was not without it's share of surprises, however. "The Ghost of You Lingers" was surprisingly cool despite the fact that it's a terrible song in a non-live setting. All of the cool effects that are all over the song sounded 5x as cool live. At one point, a thumping, vibrating bass crescendoed and shook the entire building. It was awesome. Also awesome and unexpected was Dan Bejar joining the band to sing one of his songs. Britt requested that someone put a video of it on YouTube so that he could watch it today, but I haven't found it yet. Keep an eye out for it though, because it was a sweet surprise.
Overall, it was a fantastic night. Emma Pollock was terrific, The New Pornographers were everything I would hope they would be, and Spoon was surprisingly entertaining for most of their set. If you happen to be in the Dallas area tonight, you better have tickets, as it's the only other time these two huge bands will be together (possibly ev0rz!). For more pictures from this show (I believe I have around 80). Check back a little later and I'll post a link to where you can get some full sized pictures. Peace out!

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