A classical aesthete checks out Wolf Parade. And their vulgar opening band, too.
My beat is Symphony Hall. The last time I went to a rock club was to hear the original Jefferson Airplane. It’s not just that I’ve grown less and less a fan of rock music, but that between teaching English at UMass — Boston during the day and going to classical concerts three or four or more times a week, I’d rather spend what little free time I have at home.
But I was invited to hear Wolf Parade, the hot band from Montreal, at the Paradise Lounge (a Boston landmark I hadn’t visited before). One of the band members, an English major at McGill, is the nephew of a friend, and I’d liked what I’d heard on disc. “The next time we’re in Boston,” he promised, “we’ll put you on the guest list.” I couldn’t resist. Bring earplugs, a knowing friend advised.
Outside the Paradise, I ran into one of my favorite students. “What are you doing here?” he asked in wonder. I think I rose a quantum leap in his estimation. I guess I was expecting the kind of surly treatment I’ve seen from club gate-watchers and ticket-takers on TV. But the Paradise people were amused and charmingly teasing to see a more grizzled academic figure waiting to get in. Wolf Parade was sold out, but the crowd inside was cool, sweet, and at least as civilized as classical audiences. Local music celebrities Damon & Naomi arrived, enveloped in a cloud of stardust.
I caught a few minutes of the opening band, Holy Fuck (I was quite surprised to see that name spelled out in full in the Boston Globe Calendar listing), which wasn’t nearly as threatening as the name suggested.
Wolf Parade, I learned, was exhausted because despite MapQuest, local street signs offered no help to out-of-towners and the group had gotten lost on both sides of the Charles. Their set was a little under an hour — but they were greeted so warmly, they offered a substantial series of encores without any sign of fatigue. The crowd swayed and sang along and applause was generous. And deserved. I was especially impressed with the rhythmic vitality and colorful timbres of the percussion and the interweaving of computerized sound effects. All-in-all, I had a better time than I’d had the night before at Symphony Hall.
: Live Reviews
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