Spencer (above) and Dan prog out. Pics by Rebecca Smeyne
Thursday, July 31
The notion that Wolf Parade, a defiantly prog-ish concern powered by carnival keyboards and strained, intermittently melodic yelping, could fill a 3,000-capacity shed with crowd-surfing, fist-pumping minions is bewildering to some people—particularly to the five guys in Wolf Parade themselves. Spencer Krug (the carnival keyboard guy) just stared in profound bewilderment as one surfer had a spastic, joyous freakout during the slow, knotty, meditative “Fine Young Cannibals”; after the slightly louder, faster, thrashier coda inspired some tentative moshpit action, he quietly admonished us, Ian MacKaye-style. “Be nice to each other,” he said. “That song wasn’t even that fast.”
He’s a charmer. Earlier in the evening, as Spencer absent-mindedly tapped on his keys between songs—beep BOOP beep—huge cheers went up in the front row from those superfans who thought they recognized the tune. They did not. “I don’t know what you thought that was,” Spencer noted drolly.
So, arena-rock charisma is not their thing. But I dig these dudes a great deal nonetheless, as do evidently myriad others, clapping gaily through both Krug’s house-of-horrors organ grinders (“California Dreamer” is the jam) and co-frontman Dan Boeckner’s more conventionally raucous guitar-hero tunes—he can sound a bit Cobainesque, actually, at full boil. (“This Heart’s on Fire” is also the jam.) Their proclivities combine on the epic 12-minute multi-suite freakout “Kissing the Beehive,” which many Terminal 5 denizens warmly received as though it were “Where the Streets Have No Name” or something. This was confusing, and also heartening. Not that the boys themselves betrayed too much enthusiasm. “You guys are real sweethearts,” Spencer allowed. “We’re almost done here.”
Wolf Parade plays Terminal 5 again tonight, Friday August 1.