Sunday, September 25, 2005

The New Pornographers

Canadian-American Relations
Showbox, Seattle, WA

What is it with the Showbox lately? All the attractive people are here once again, which makes me wonder what Harvey Danger is now staring at over at Fremont Oktoberfest. This crowd's good looks must be enhanced by a huge number of Canadians raised on Kraft Dinner and clean living.

There are templates. The guys appear to fall into one of four categories: ski instructor, guitar teacher, program manager, other. The girls as well: marketing, school teacher, grad student, other. They are happy and expectant except for one gal who is barfing in the bathroom by 10:00.

The openers are both New Pornographers side/pet projects. Immaculate Machine is ADORABLE and is comprised of UVic students. Well, it looks like 2 college students and Iggy Pop on drums. The crowd is fairly receptive but unmoving, because generally Canadian music includes a lot of clever words so you really have to concentrate on what you're hearing.

The second band, Destroyer, is a different story. Do you ever hear a band that, for absolutely no good reason, grates on your nerves so much that you have to get as far away as possible as quickly as possible? I don't know what it is about Dan Bejar's vocal technique and lyrics, but it sounds to me like the music could be the soundtrack for "Magic the Gathering: the Movie" or maybe an SCA Underground tape. I actually have to leave the building for a bit and go for a walk.

By the time New Pornographers comes on, the place is so packed that you can barely walk around; way more packed than the sold-out Death Cab show the other night, oddly. There is considerably less smoking here due to preponderance of Canadians, which is lovely. This audience holds promise: in this next ten years they will produce probably 500 children and billions of dollars of revenue for companies everywhere. It's weird to look at the Future Parents of America (and Canada), and for once I feel ok about it. I do not get this same feeling at the mall.

Standing at the front of the room allows you to be far more engaged than you are at the back of the room, where it actually gets a little boring. The front holds the superfans, but you need to keep your distance because every single part of their body from pumping fist to ponytail becomes a hazard when they dance. They are joyful and their favorite band can do no wrong. Any show is a good show when you leave feeling a bit more Canadian.

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