Spoon + The New Pornographers @ Metropolis – 23rd July 2017

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Thanks to a toxic mix of the Just For Laughs Festival and various road closures around St Catherine and St Laurent creating traffic chaos, I can already hear Vancouver’s The New Pornographers playing new song High Ticket Attractions as I’m collecting my ticket at the Box Office… I hate missing the start of a set I was trying so hard to catch! Thankfully, it’s only their second song, and they play an epic 50-minute Greatest Hits set with offerings from 6 of their 7 studio albums, understandably leaning more towards current album Whiteout Conditions; the title track of this record sounds particularly grand tonight.

Frontman AC Newman introduces The Jessica Numbers as a “prog-rock song we haven’t played in 10 years”, though you’d never guess that from the flawless-yet-ferocious delivery of arguably the standout track from the Twin Cinema record. The set wraps up with the classic Mass Romantic, and the bar is set pretty high for tonight’s headliners. After such a long wait for The New Pornographers to visit this time, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long for the next visit: they just announced a headline show at Corona for October, supported by Born Ruffians! However, Phoenix and Beach Fossils have also announced shows for that very same night, so good luck trying to decide on that one…

Setlist (The New Pornographers)

Brill Bruisers
High Ticket Attractions
Dancehall Domine
Whiteout Conditions
Champions of Red Wine
The Jessica Numbers
This is the World of the Theater
Testament to Youth in Verse
Play Money
Use It
Mass Romantic

Austin’s Spoon are another band with an extremely solid back catalogue behind them, having just released their NINTH record in the form of Hot Thoughts. The monotone keys of the title track whirr into life to start the show, as frontman Britt Daniel and co bound onto the stage to start proceedings. Inside Out follows next, and the last twinkles of that merge seamlessly into the thumping bass line of I Turn My Camera On, to huge cheers from the sizeable crowd assembled. An extended intro builds anticipation further for the classic tune, as if that was even needed. It’s the outro that’s extended on Can I Sit Next To You, which fades seamlessly into Stay Don’t Go, which in turn merges into the funky bass intro of Don’t You Evah. More huge cheers and a massive singalong greet the arrival of Do You, and at this point it kinda strikes you just how many Spoon songs you know; not bad for a band that never really had a lot of mainstream radio airplay.

The stage is fairly darkly lit and moody for the duration of the show, and this continues on My Mathematical Mind, as a lounge-y breakdown amidst a dim green backdrop explodes into life with drums midway through. Don’t Make Me A Target starts in a similar vein, and explodes into life in even more pronounced fashion, closing with flashing red and white strobe lights. Huge cheers greet the familiar intro of The Underdog as the devoted crowd sings along with gusto, before Rainy Taxi closes out the main set.

Britt returns to the stage solo with just his electric guitar to lead the crowd through a stirring run-through of I Summon You; Metropolis erupts into a thunderous clapalong in response. On Pink Up, the stage is appropriately bathed in pink light to go with the unique glockenspiel beats, vocoder vocals, and rumbling beats, before the rumbling is swiftly replaced by the thumping drums of Got Nuffin. After one final Thank You to the crowd and proclaiming today “a beautiful day, the kinda day that makes you feel alive!”, Rent I Pay closes out the show for good, after a stirring 90 minutes.

Midway through their set, Britt thanks The New Pornographers for opening the show, declaring these few dates they have together to be “special shows.” Couldn’t have put it any better myself; a special show indeed.

Setlist (Spoon)

Hot Thoughts

Inside Out

I Turn My Camera On

Metal Detektor

Can I Sit Next To You

Stay Don’t Go

Don’t You Evah

Do You

Via Kannela (solo)

I Ain’t the One

Do I Have to Talk You Into It

Anything You Want

My Mathematical Mind

Don’t Make Me a Target

The Underdog

Rainy Taxi

I Summon You (acoustic)

Pink Up

Got Nuffin

Rent I Pay

Review & photos – Simon Williams

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