With titles like “You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son,” and “Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts,” Wolf Parade have established themselves as a favourite of – amongst others – journalists who get paid by the word.
For as much as Montreal is credited as the birthplace of the band, BC (and the Island in particular) is the birthplace of the band members. To that end, it’s very tempting to think of Wolf Parade as local boys done good, making Saturday night’s show at Sugar somewhat of a homecoming. And, while the liner notes for the vinyl rerelease of the band’s Polaris-nominated debut album Apologies To The Queen Mary makes some less than flattering remarks about Victoria, the crowd was ready to welcome them back after they headlined this summer’s Rifflandia festival. This was most apparent by the fact that no one threw anything at drummer Arlen Thompson (this time), which – I can only assume – was appreciated.
Dual front men Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug traded singer/songwriter duties like greasier, couch-surfing-er Lennon/McCartney analogues. Boeckner’s lanky, livewire presence brought an electricity to a screaming, blazing version of “This Heart’s On Fire,” while Krug’s calmer, gentlemanly-powerful vocals on fan favourite “I’ll Believe In Anything” brought chills to the sweaty club.
The set seamlessly floated through tracks from the band’s three LP catalogue, including two new songs that give even more fuel to the rumor that a new album is in the works. After what felt to all like too short of a set, including an encore that ended with a blazing jam session that lives in the back half of “Kissing The Beehive,” it seemed as though neither the band nor the crowd was ready to leave. As we filed down the stairs, everyone was in high spirits if not feeling a little unfinished. We had enjoyed the hot, intense time we spent together but it felt as though none of us really reached the climax we were hoping for.
While this party may have ended earlier than any of us wanted, the inherent anticipation for the next one will make those next first chords as exciting as these last ones.
More than a decade after their first release, multiple side projects and a 5-year hiatus, Wolf Parade proved that they are still a confident, competent and brilliant brotherhood. While the myriad of other projects – not the least of which include Handsome Furs, Sunset Rubdown and Johnny and the Moon – deserve all of the accolades they receive, this show made it hard to argue that Wolf Parade is nothing short of bracing, bombastic and beautiful evidence that the sum is almost always greater than its parts.