As a longtime fan of Wolf Parade, I was certainly disappointed when the Montreal band split up back in 2011 to work on other projects. They reunited somewhat quietly in 2016 with an independent self-titled EP, but this year, they returned in full force with a new full length album on Sub Pop entitled Cry Cry Cry. Even more exciting was the announcement of two nights at the Fonda Theatre, where I saw them back in 2008. In fact, a second night was added because the first one sold out.
The YouTube video above is from the concert after the one I attended on January 19th, but both featured a fantastic set that intermingled tracks from the new album with many old favorites from Apologies From the Queen Mary (2005), At Mount Zoomer (2008), and Expo 86 (2010). There was a sense of mutual delight in the band and the crowd at reconnecting on Friday, and the energy was good all around. Frontmen Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug were both charismatic in their own ways; Krug is generally soft-spoken and witty and Boeckner is good-natured and laughs often. The contrast between Krug’s trebly, precise vocals and Boeckner’s not-quite-hoarse rock n’ roll voice is part of Wolf Parade’s charm, as they trade back and forth between songs.
It’s good to see from this video that bassist Dante DeCaro made it through the show on Saturday, because he was so sick on Friday that he departed the stage early, came back for a few numbers, and then had to skip the encore. Krug told the crowd that DeCaro had been very sick for several days, and for him to take off like that, he must’ve been about to faint, so it’s clear that the guy is a trooper. I hope he didn’t overdo it and is recovering now.
Highlights of the set included the infectious new single, “You’re Dreaming,” the quirky, upbeat “Soldier’s Grin” (Mount Zoomer), the enigmatic “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts” (Queen Mary) – which had people singing along, “But god doesn’t always have the best goddamn plans” – and the artsy rocker, “What Did My Lover Say?” (Expo 86). “King of Piss and Paper” from Cry Cry Cry came with an explanation from Krug that it was written in sympathy for us about Trump. Boeckner told us that “Shine A Light” from Mount Zoomer, with its emphatic line, “That’s fine, I’m barely alive,” was about living in a tiny town and feeling desperate to escape.
In the end, it was no surprise when the band made their encore without DeCaro, and the crowd was simply glad to have one. The closer with one of my favorites, “This Heart’s On Fire,” an impassioned and visceral song with mysterious lyrics. Here’s hoping the band plans to continue recording and touring together for many years to come.