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Wolf Parade Live at
The Music Box, Hollywood

July 18, 2008


By: Jeff Hassay


Deep in the heart of Hollywood California, amidst an eager looking mix of fans who swayed more towards average Joe/Jane college and  (surprisingly) less towards erudite music geek (though the hipster guy in front of me found it necessary to wave his newly purchased vinyl copy of “At Mount Zoomer” for most of the show—that qualifies as geeky doesn’t it?) Wolf Parade took to the stage and opened their show with a rushed and nimble “This Heart’s On Fire.” The audience was immediately butter in their alt-rockin’ Canadian hands.

I was pretty buttery too. Despite muffled sound issues, the consistent break between every song and the omission of “Same Ghost Every Night” (the closest Wolf Parade have gotten to true sorcery in their songwriting) I remained won over. As did the ever-excited audience.

Wolf Parade’s songs have always danced around some death march vibe; both dark and celebratory and when they play live given the volume and tightness of playing, the songs become a call to arms. It’s like some parade of coyotes or something. There is a little bit of Husker Du’s black sheets of sound, a touch of swerdriving shoegaze and a little bit of Spoon’s precision. Plus, I couldn’t help but notice how Wolf Parade evolved out of Pavement’s fecund gene pool: no bass player (early Pavement), two singer/songwriters (early-mid Pavement), avoidance of guitar solos (early-mid Pavement), heavy keyboards (mid Pavement), and obscure lyrics that often morph into do-do-la-la-laas. That’s closer to Destroyer but Pavement did have that “Cut Your Hair” song filled with scatting nonsense.

The concert’s peak was “You Are a Runner…” which was decidedly fiercer than the recorded version. It was extended and intense. Lights twirled and flashed, voices joined, guitars were violently struck, keyboards screamed—drums found some sinister rushing heartbeat to mimic. The guy in front of me who was waving his record all night put it down and just gawked.

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