Last year, seminal indie rockers, Wolf Parade reformed after a five-year hiatus. The band have been incredibly busy since, releasing an EP, their fourth full length album Cry Cry Cry, and touring extensively. The band have a huge influence, with its members performing in some of the most prolific bands in the Canadian indie-rock scene. With all of this going on, it was a delightful shock to hear they were reforming; and not just as a one-time thing, but that they were producing music and touring.
Their show at Gorilla, in Manchester, welcomed a mixed audience of older, die-hard fans who had clearly been listening since their debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, and younger, less attached fans who had picked up on Wolf Parade from their 2010 album Expo 86 —or perhaps even their latest album from October this year.
Starting the night off was the up and coming, Toronto based, rock band Frigs. They create an encaptivating, raucous atmosphere by expertly melding the sluggishness of doom-metal with the fast-paced melodies of punk. The young frontwoman screams the piercing notes other singers intentionally miss, all whilst moving around the stage, swaying her arms in a possessed like state. They are a lot of fun, and although quite a bit heavier than Wolf Parade, they don’t feel out of place — Certainly a band to keep your eyes on in the future.
Wolf Parade kick off their set with the recognisable drum of You Are a Runner, And I Am My Father’s Son, the first song off their debut album. And the crowd, instantly recognising the emblematic classic, erupt into nostalgic cheer. This cheer is imitated every time the band play one of their many recognisable classics and is usually followed by hands-in-the-air singing along and dancing.
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Perhaps due to his time performing solo, the once visibly anxious Krug, seems confident, dancing around and occasionally engaging the crowd with a joke: “We took a long break and we didn’t get any more professional in the mean-time“. Boeckner, a natural frontman, uses his distant, distorted voice to fuel the crowd whilst letting the guitar lead his manic body movements. The multi-instrumentalist and support singer, Dante DeCaro, exudes a certain-laid back coolness as he switches between guitar, bass and synthesiser. Arlen Thompson, the band‘s drummer, remains quiet and focussed throughout the whole show, carrying the rhythmic structure of the band with intricate and clever drum beats which always sound unique and stylish.
Much like they do on their albums, the contrasting vocals between Boeckner and Krug, provide a refreshing and different feel to each song they play. And on the frequent occasion when they harmonise together, they’re able to create a powerful sound which hits a myriad of different notes whilst maintaining a sing-along structure. The songs are a mixture of extended, well-timed rock out jams, such as their ten-minute-long closing song, Kissing the Beehive, and dancier, synth and drum-oriented beats, such as Fancy Claps; providing the crowd with the opportunity to move their feet, sing along, and bang their heads.
They played a set mainly consisting of songs from their first, and most recent album, with only one song off each album in between. This perfect blend allowed the band to play upon the nostalgia of the audience whilst also plugging their latest album, and although there were a few songs I wish they’d played off their two middle albums, the set was too near perfect to complain.
The setlist was a little different than the setlist they had prepared for the night. Feeling the nostalgia for their first album, they added two songs from it: Fancy Claps and Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts, making a total of seven songs from this album (the same amount they played from their latest). Both of those songs elicit huge reactions from the crowd, especially Sons and Daughters which replaced Valley Boy as the introduction to their encore.
With constant smiling, joking around and the occasional hug, they give out the aura of good friends who enjoy each other’s company as much as they do playing together. This, combined with the music and energy of the crowd, makes for a memorable show that is as fun as it is meaningful.