New Pornographers, Death Cab for Cutie and The Tragically Hip at Butler’s Barracks, Niagara On The Lake, June 30, 2012

Warning: this review may have been tainted by the neanderthal concert goers. I have never ever, encountered such a moronic, boozy and aggressive crowd; not even at the most metal of metal shows back in my dark high-school days. People were still courteous, helped each other out of pits, etc. This was a different kind of terrible. The day began by driving my grandmother’s pimp mobile, with the license plate “GR8GRMA” loud and proud, to the parking lot where we caught the “shuttle bus” , air quotes. Shuttle bus equated to yellow school bus of annoyance. Full of loud boisterous men that had been drinking since at least 9am, I quietly made a Billy Madison joke, and soon enough my prediction came true, as they all proceeded to yell “O’Doyle rules!” “Piss your pants!” for the majority of the ride.  Show experiences, in my opinion, are 70% band, 30% crowd atmosphere. I find if a band is mediocre but the crowd is amazing and there’s a great energy, I will come out still happy. If the band is amazing, but the crowd is unbearable, it makes the show hard to love. So that is my preface, in my review of the bands, I will try to keep it taint free.

Rural Alberta Advantage

Missed photo call, however they were pretty good. Drew a small crowd as the place was starting to fill up, and of course when they covered a Gord Downie song, and the man himself joined them on stage, the crowd went wild and people ran to catch the treat.

New Pornographers with Neko Case

Neko Case has a fantastic voice, clear as day, never faltering, just absolutely perfect. The New Pornographers kicked off with Moves from the 2010 album Together, and continued through a slew of hits during their set. It was poppy, upbeat, and purely Canadian sounding, glad I got to cross them off the bucket list. The best songs of the set were Mass Romantic, Crash Years and Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk. This was also the time we ventured to the alcohol tent where we fell in love with the “mixed and ready” Canadian Club drinks. Not trying to plug a company during this post, but seriously some good shit.

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie are always great. My third time seeing them, this set made me incredibly nostalgic. I was instantly transported back to senior year of highschool, which was ten years ago! Right when Transatlanticism came out, the album was my official summer album, constantly on repeat, and remained that way for years. The first show I saw was at a place in Buffalo, NY called Nietzsche’s, a small 400 person venue, so incredibly intimate two people in the crowd actually bought the band a wine set and had every patron sign the box. Since that time, Death Cab sky rocketed to a major label, arena type venues and headlining festivals. Yet, even with the large caliber fan base, the idiotic crowd and large outdoor setting, they still made me feel like I was the only person in the crowd watching, as they went through their recent albums and then delved back into my favorites from Transatlanticism and The Photo Album. The sunny hot day became a bit cloudy during their set, but during The New Year, right at the pivotal build up and moment in the song, the sun rose again, making you feel like you were actually starting anew on a very warm January day.

The Tragically Hip

The Hip are one of those bands, pretty much everyone loves them, and their main fan base are drunk guys. When you look up definitions of Canada, and Canadian culture, The Hip will be listed. They’re an underrated overrated band, an oxymoron that actually makes sense. Downie is a superb song writer, and even more so, his stage presence is out of this world. You actually forget that there is anyone else on stage, while you watch his theatrics. It was a little hard to forget the amount of people in the crowd getting into fights, as person after person was yanked out and escorted off the premises. The Tragically Hip, whether intentional or not, riles up a crowd to a point of almost hysteria. Talking to fans, you hear things like “20th time seeing them” or “never missed a show”, their fans define loyalty. This was my first time ever seeing the Hip and as I’ve been told, it was a great live show, but their set list was sub-par, I’m guessing because they didn’t go for all of the fan favorites as per usual. Either way, I’m glad I got to see them, Gord Downie is considered a Canadian music legend where I’m originally from, he outshines most acts with his fantastical stage presence and perfected voice. If you actually haven’t seen them, which is apparently rare in these parts, I highly recommend you see them at least once. Just don’t get caught on the yellow school bus full of vomiting man-children.

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Posted on by lauren in Concerts

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