If there’s a force in the universe that compels one to move, it should be named The New Pornographers. In DC for the first of two sold out shows, the supergroup spent little time talking. Carl even remarked at one point, “We don’t need to tell you how much we like you, do we?” Instead, they opted to exercise their super power of rocking the crowd for almost ninety minutes. Which probably felt like ten to the lovely lady on the right balcony who never ceased dancing.
In fact, the combined synergy among the eight-piece and the boisterous crowd caused the hanging display of flashing lights in the background to come partially loose near the top. Said display is a few multiples of a human in height, so it presented a slightly precarious proposition should it come crashing down to Joe who sat right before it, prompting Neko Case to address the crowd saying, “take it easy.” If one failed to detect the sarcasm in her voice, it became apparent once the band launched loudly into the next song.
Beyond simply energy, Neko and company, with emphasis on the conjunction, exhibited delightful musicianship. Simi strummed the violin like a guitar. Kathryn didn’t so much sweep her hand across the piano as pet it like a cat begging to be caressed. Then there’s the jubilant satisfaction of having all eight members simultaneously drop the beat that sent cheers echoing. While there are many other highlights to list, the vocal harmony among the members stood out the most. It was a beautiful instrument that beckoned everyone to sway and sing along in unison.
At one point mid song, Blaine and Joe raised their glasses to each other. It was certainly a very befitting gesture that encapsulates the electrifying performance. I would have loved to have seen them again on the second night but I was scheduled to see Beauty Pill.