Saturday with The New Pornographers

Monday, November 15, 2010

I had the most amazing weekend. Saturday night’s gig was truly awesome – one of the best nights I’ve had in a really long time.

It started at my best friend’s place, where, after the obligatory hour or so of changing into different outfits and finally ending up back in the first thing I put on, we headed outside only to find that it was pouring with rain. We sprinted to the street, trying futilely to cover our hair to prevent the sudden and unwelcome sprouting of a moisture-induced afro. My friend (who we’ll call Kate for the purposes of this story) waved her arm into the road like a crazy woman, and although the rain was much too heavy to see anything, somehow, only seconds later we were seated in the warmth of a taxi, wiping frantically at our hair to stop the explosion of frizz.

The taxi ride was short, but as we neared the venue my excitement grew to a point where I was literally bouncing up and down in the seat like a little kid who knows her birthday presents are about to be handed to her. I guess I’m dorky like that.

As the taxi pulled up outside I was ready to bounce right out of the door, and my insane excitement levels had me tipping the driver way more than a 5 minute car ride deserves – although to be fair it was partially so that I wouldn’t have to carry a bunch of stupid coins around in my jeans pocket.

We headed for the door, but found two burly bouncers blocking the way.

‘Can we see some ID please girls?’ The one that looked a little like Tony Danza on steroids asked.

Slow smiles crept across both our faces. This was a very pleasant start to the night. I can’t even remember the last time someone checked my ID! It was probably about 9 years ago.

‘Thanks’ said buff Tony Danza as he handed me back my license. He gave me what I can only assume he thought was a winning smile.

‘No,’ I told him. ‘Thank you!’

We wandered downstairs, grabbed a couple of beers at the bar and headed towards the stage. Two steps led down into a lowered section right in front of the stage, which was about 5 ½ feet above the floor level. We took up our place on the very top step so that Kate would be able to see over everyone. She’s pretty short and usually finds herself spending an entire gig staring at the back of someone’s head – or in this case it would have been the wall in front of the stage.

It was a fantastic spot, only about 6 metres or so from the stage with a completely unobstructed view. I would have like to be a bit closer, but I can’t complain since Kate agreed to come along not knowing any of the band’s songs.

It was about 9pm, and we had arrived just in time to see the support band, Little Scout. They played for about 45 mins, but although they were really good and the lead singer was adorable, I was eager for them to finish so that The New Pornographers would come on. After Little Scout finished we had to wait an excruciating 30 minutes before they took the stage.

As they all wandered on you could feel the excitement levels of the crowd rising. Everyone pushed forward and I found myself looking down into the massive, crazy hair of what I thought was a guy – until the man next to him grabbed him on the bum and I realised that the he was actually a very strange looking she.

Neko Case took her place on stage looking like she had just gotten out of bed; hair tousled and fluffy, wearing jeans and a hoodie. It made me love her just a little bit. She’s so normal, and her wild hair made me feel a lot better about my own crazy rain-ruined locks. Aussies generally make fun of rangas, but Neko would be the exception to that rule.

And Carl Newman was a lot bigger than I thought he would be. I don’t mean that he was fat; far from it. He was just taller and less weedy than I had imagined him.

They jumped straight into it, and the next 2 hours were filled with the most amazing live music I think I’ve ever heard. Maybe it was just that I like their stuff so much, or maybe it was all the wine and beer I had drunk, but it was just phenomenal. They mostly played their newer songs, but included the more well known tracks off their older albums too. There wasn’t a single song that didn’t have my foot tapping or my body moving.

Part way through the show, an audience member yelled out for them to play ‘Myriad Harbour’. They said they couldn’t, because they didn’t have Dan Bejar there to sing it. Later, when they came out for their first encore, they offered to play it if someone from the crowd would get up on stage and sing it with them. After a couple of moments of waiting, and it looking like no one would do it, a voice yelled out from somewhere behind me

‘Ah fuck it, I’ll do it!’

A cheer went up in the vicinity of the anonymous voice and spread slowly around the room. A guy pushed through the crowd, too short to be seen until he jumped up on stage. After a quick request that someone film it, he sang the entire song with the band – and pretty well, too. The crowd went wild, and cheered so loud and so long that the band came back out and played a second encore.

After the gig, we went to a bar where Kate’s roommate works and had a couple of drinks. Some random Canadian guy bought me a drink because I managed to guess where he was from and because I’d just come from seeing a Canadian band. A drunken Mexican hugged me repeatedly, and a guy who has been trying to hook up with Kate tried continually (and very obviously) to make a good impression on me. Which was wise, after all - because if the best friend likes you, it goes a very, very long way. Especially when it comes to Kate.

At about 2am the bar closed, and I was absolutely exhausted (you know, like I’ve said before - because I’m old and boring). Kate, on the other hand, pretty much never sleeps (because it gets in the way of all the drinking), so she stayed out while I staggered off home, to fall asleep and relive my awesome night over again in my head.


Andy said...

I was actually standing right behind you as you got ID'ed coming into the Hi-Fi, and I saw how delighted you both were at being asked! I had a laugh when you said "no thank you!!"

I thought they must be checking for IDs so I pulled out mine but the bouncer looked at me and said "you're right, go in". Bastard.

torrygirl said...

That's bouncers for you - good for the girls egos, bad for the boys!

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