BY TIM HINELY
NYC’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart had packed a much smaller Larimer Lounge here in town earlier this year (on the release date of their third record).. Here playing the bigger Gothic but opening for New Pornographers the crowd was nearly as capacity when they took the stage. Leader Kip Berman (above) seems to be completely comfortable with whomever he is playing with. Longtime members Peggy, Alex and Kurt are now long gone. He has a whole new crew these days which sound just as good as the old crew (including the new(er) guys on bass and guitar who look like cast-offs from a 90’s UK shoegaze band). Not having as much time to talk in between songs Berman kept the talking to a minimum (usually he’s a bit chattier). They played mostly songs off their latest record, Days of Abandon though they did satisfy older fans by playing their classic, “Young Adult Friction” as well as a few older cuts. Another strong set.
It had been a while since I’d last seen Vancouver, BC’s New Pornographers and the last time I did see them Neko Case and Dan Bejar were definitely not in tow. Tonight at the Gothic the extra-strength version of New Pornos was on stage , all 8 of ‘em (Neko had on this black, one-piece zip up….erm, odd fashion). The band opened with the title track off their latest record, Brill Bruisers (their 6th) and from there played a healthy dose of cuts from each of their records (though playing nearly all off the latest record). Sounding tight as a drum and leader Carl Newman is still ever the jokester in between songs, tossing off one-liners (“Man, you guys think you’re so cool but in Vancouver we could smoke pot in front of cops long before you guys ever could.”). The band was tight and efficient and blew from one song to another and played for a good two hours.
Other gems played throughout the night included “Moves,” “Crash Years,” “Silver Dollar Jenny” and ending the set with “Mass Romantic” , the title track from their debut.
While Neko was on stage the whole time it was Bejar who would come out, play, occasionally sing them meander off the stage for a bit. Then wander back on and slip back into the fold (and with beard and jacket looking like a middle-aged Bob Dylan a bit).
The encores were often and plentiful. During the first encore we heard “Dancehall Domine,” “Sing Me Spanish Techno’ and, a personal favorite, “The Bleeding Heart Show” (from Twin Cinema).