REVIEW: New Pornographers + Waxahatchee at HOB (4/25)

Rain and wind sure put things in perspective sometimes.

The miserable weather made the House of Blues, rife with faux-artifacts, tchotchkes, and pricey drinks seem like an ideal respite, but nothing could shake the upbeat mood brought in by The New Pornographers show that evening.

Opening the evening was Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, joined by bassist Katherine Simonetti. The duo took the stage with a simple “hi” before captivating the docile crowd with a set peppered with new tracks. This run of dates preempts the July release of the band’s upcoming release, Out in the Storm, and songs like “Silver” and “A Little More” are some of the strongest the band has made yet. The highlight of the set also happened to be a new track by the name “Sparks Fly.” Their set was tender and subdued, easing crowd into the atmosphere without lulling them into complacency.

The New Pornographers came with two notable presences: an incredibly colorful, sci-fi futurist backdrop and Neko Case. With this rare appearance, the band was 8 members strong and as lush as ever.

Launching into “High Ticket Attractions” off their latest record, Whiteout Conditions, it became clear that they’ve hardly (if ever) waned in quality. Every song felt like a power pop classic, just recorded in different eras. Particularly strong this evening were the chugging, confident “Dancehall Domine” and “All The Old Showstoppers”, but the title track of their newest record was easily one of the most powerful of the evening with its epic, ‘80s-like synths.

When they do engage in banter, the chemistry in the band is always a treat. Neko Case went from commenting on how the rainy weather frizzled her red mane into feeling like her head was covered in spiders to a joking belief that they were all on The X-Files.

The only noticeable absence in their revised X-Files cast came during “Testament to Youth in Verse.” Lead vocals were handled by Carl Newman in lieu of Dan Bejar, currently recording with his group Destroyer. However, the exhilaration of the new record and hearing fan favorites like “The Bleeding Heart Show” show made up for the lack of his contributions this round.

There was a slight presence of our current political climate that was hard to ignore. Music stands were adorned with stickers that read “RESIST” and the large, square void of the backdrop that appeared to spew about twenty solar eclipses. Coupled with the band’s powerful melodies and seamless grandeur though, it suggested some sort of positivity out of the darkness; a fleeting beauty in the face of uncertain fate.

For more photos from the show, check out our gallery below.