So here we are, the culmination of another edition of Pop Montreal, and the culmination of a 4-night residency for local heroes Wolf Parade in the tiny confines of the iconic Sala Rossa. 4 nights have taken their toll though; early on, guitarist Dan Boeckner introduces the show with “this is night 4 of 4 nights…guys I’m so messed-up!” Keyboardist Spencer Krug elaborates: “I’m high on painkillers, we all have head colds…should be a fun night!”
Seriously though, it WAS an incredibly fun night. After the funky stomp of Lazarus Online opens the set, the classic Modern World, from the seminal breakthrough record Apologies To The Queen Mary, really takes things up a notch. Grounds For Divorce from that very same record follows to keep up the pace; indeed, 7 of the 15 songs played tonight come from that debut. This definitely gives the show a real celebratory homecoming feel; everyone knows these songs inside out.
After Spencer leaves the stage to blow his “nose tears” (Dan’s words, not mine), the massive riff intro of What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way) ignites proceedings once more, culminating in Dan and fellow guitarist Dante DeCaro duelling guitars in thunderous fashion. The drums on Soldier’s Grin which follows sound equally beefed up.
After the spooky It’s A Curse (“all our songs in a minor key sound like Halloween music,” according to the band), Spencer chooses to clarify an earlier comment: “I want to clarify, I’m not addicted to painkillers. I hurt my thumb walking Dan’s dog. It’s tiny, I sprained my thumb… I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks!” One of the better anecdotes you will hear at a show, that’s for sure!
The band pay tribute to Montreal frequently towards the end of the set. On Baby Blue, the video backdrop displays the iconic flashing Farine Five Roses sign, before following that with Shine A Light, “a song about Telemarketing in NDG!” Dan wholeheartedly thanks Sala Rossa and Casa Del Popolo “for existing” and giving the band a chance in the early 2000s after they first moved here from British Columbia. Amusingly, a song about California then closes the main set!
After a quick break, the band return, and after Dan gives thanks to the “repeat people” who evidently came out to see the band on multiple nights, another trio of cuts from their debut constitute the encore, in the form of the crashing, apocalyptic This Heart’s On Fire, I’ll Believe In Anything, and Dinner Bells, all greeted with relentless cheering from the rabid crowd. After an hour and 25 minutes, the show, the 4-night residency, and indeed Pop Montreal 2018 wraps up for good in an emphatic manner. You couldn’t have scripted a better finale than this. An amazing band, in an amazing venue, in our amazing city.
Grounds for Divorce
What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)
It’s a Curse
King Of Piss And Paper
Fine Young Cannibals
Shine a Light
This Heart’s On Fire
I’ll Believe in Anything
Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Ariane Williams