If you’ve never heard of Wolf Parade, let me sum it up for you: it’s like every dirty Indie-rock band you’ve ever heard.
The Montreal quartet’s debut album, “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” is essentially a Modest Mouse album: quaint, sloppy and lo-fi. Even co-lead singer Dan Boeckner’s voice is a parody of Isaac Brock (who also happened to produce the album).
But let me make one thing clear: Wolf Parade is a pretty damn fine band regardless. Most songs on “Apologies” are built around ideas that are effective, punchy and immediate. While the production and musicianship involved are not quite up to par (just like any pure Indie-rock band), we shouldn’t really care. it’s fun to listen to and rock out to from time to time.
Not my favorite, but better and more versatile than Death Cab.
So when I had the option of attending Wolf Parade Monday night at the Fox Theatre versus Bowling for Soup on Sunday at the Ogden Theatre, I can tell you I was not overwhelmed with much qualm.
Canada has been exporting some fantastic acts these days, from The New Pornographers to the Arcade Fire, and I wasn’t about to go ahead and miss another possibly high-quality performance from our northern-border brethren.
Boulder’s thick-rimmed glasses crowd was in full force for this unexpectedly sold-out show, and I searched desperately to no avail for a spot where I could get the best sound.
As it turned out, mainly everyone I spoke to had a difficult time with the sound, which came out kind of muddled even for such an already-gangly sounding band.
Nevertheless, the performance was soulful, and when the signature cymbal-and-snare crash of “Apologies'” opening track, “You Are a Runner and I am My Father’s Son” fired up, the crowd didn’t really care and broke out with wild applause.
Some highlights from the show included radio-friendly “Shine A Light,” the surprisingly powerful “I’ll Believe in Anything” and especially “Grounds For Divorce,” showcasing Boeckner’s wild vocals and the entire band’s propensity to simply kick ass.
Like many a “scenester,” the boys of Wolf Parade are messy and gaunt, but make up for their lack of looks with sincerity and a sarcastic sense of humor that somehow makes its way through the music.
Ever since I first heard the album, I noticed the intensely personal, almost Nirvana-meets-Beck absurdity of lines like “On the radio / And the bouncing bodies’ drone / Found 18 reasons I can’t pick up on the phone / I said look at the clouds / It’s a show all on its own / Such were the grounds for divorce I know.”
It is no surprise, then, that co-lead singer Spencer Krug owes much to both Beck and Kurt Cobain in his vocal style, especially live-on songs like the bouncing, groove-laden “It’s a Curse” or the near-Cobain rip-off “Modern World.”
The show ended with Wolf Parade bringing out members of show-openers Frog Eyes for a fantastic rendition of “Dinner Bells.” Although it is one of the weaker tracks on “Apologies,” the effort was astounding and a perfect closer for the night.
Simply put, overall it was a pretty good show. Nothing jaw-dropping or ground-breaking, but I am quite certain that nobody who went really expected anything more.
Thankfully, if there were some in the audience that expected less, they were in for a pleasant surprise. Wolf Parade seems to be just one of those bands that nobody would ever really mention as their favorite, but provide for that dirty-Indie-garage-rock niche that we occasionally need to fill as music enthusiasts.
Thomas Plassmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org