This past Saturday night at Massey Hall was a formidable display of Canadian indie and the many sounds it can have. Vancouver’s New Pornographers brought their now twenty-year catalogue to the venue with support from jangly local boys Born Ruffians. It was the last show of the tour and the two bands made sure to make it a great one.
Luke Lalonde and company are prepping a new album for release soon and reminding audiences of their peppy, upbeat take on indie rock. A little bit of folk, a little bit of punk, and a whole lot of attitude make their sound unmistakably their own. Along with some brand new songs, they brought out jaunty fan favourites like “Little Garcon” and “& On & On & On” to liven up the atmosphere.
Brawny indie crew The New Pornographers might have subtly added to their sound in the past few years, but the group is anchored by frontman AC Newman‘s impeccable songwriting skills. He and his group powered through their collection of indie pop with aplomb, incorporating both big guitar riffs and squiggly synth lines in their endlessly catchy tunes. With their very distinct, muscled-up take on sweetly melodic songs, the west coast band heated up a crowd taking refuge from the drizzly October night.
Newman’s honey-dipped approach to crafting songs is nothing less than a smorgasbord of hooks; every song is distinctly its own creature, but they’ve all got a familiar feel, as if they’ve existed for decades. Elements of power pop from past generations are strung through the band’s tunes, but rendered entirely unique in their hands. Newer songs like “High Ticket Attractions” and “Avalanche Alley” might be swathed in the 80s influences that are en vogue at the moment, but at their centre they are Newman compositions through and through.
As expected a lot of material was from the group’s most recent album Whiteout Conditions, but the older hits were there too, from “Mass Romantic” to “Use It” to “Sing Me Spanish Techno”. Deep cut “The Jessica Numbers” made an appearance, as did the massive “Brill Bruisers” during the encore. And with that encore, another successful tour was capped off with a tremendous night at Massey Hall.