THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS @ The Rechabite gets 8/10

The New Pornographers @ The Rechabite

w/ Timothy Nelson
Sunday, February 23, 2020


I have a confession to make. This is the first time I’ve seen Canadian indie rock supergroup The New Pornographers live. I have a pretty good excuse, mind you, it’s the first time they’ve been back in the country in nearly a decade. Still feeling a little disappointed with myself having lived in Seattle in the late 90s early 00s, as I never made it north of the border to catch one of their earlier shows. After tonight’s performance, let’s just hope it’s not their last here.

Timothy Nelson

Hitting the stage first at Perth’s newest music venue The Rechabite, was local favourite Timothy Nelson. Fresh-faced for a warm and humid Perth summer night, his trademark curls did not disappoint. He ended a short but sweet set with the heartfelt lyrics of Solider.

The New Pornographers got straight into it. Opening the set with recent single release Falling Down the Stairs for Your Smile set the bar high for the rest of the night. The Rechabite had a pretty full house (for a Sunday evening) of budding fans, old and young, tapping their toes and swinging their hips to The New Pornographers’ signature hooks. They are touring Australia with their new album In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights, released in September of last year.

The New Pornographers

Frontman Carl Newman stopped briefly after the second song Use It from 2005’s Twin Cinema album, to formally acknowledge the band’s return for their first show here since the Rosemount Hotel in 2010.

Taking us on a trip down memory lane, Newman reminisced about the last time they were in Australia and how he was footloose and fancy free. How times have changed – the next day he’d be celebrating his son’s eighth birthday. Small talk over, they went back to doing what they do best. You’ll Need a New Back Seat Driver with Neko Case at the helm was clearly a crowd favourite.

What I love about The New Pornographers are their harmonies. It’s refreshing to see a stage full of individually talented musicians coming together to create a big band sound that’s still gentle. There is nothing aggressive about it, with leads, rhythm, harmonies and hooks across a range of usual and not so usual instruments (I’m looking at you, melodica).

The New Pornographers

They are professionals. True performers – keeping their audience’s attention. They weaved playfully between old classics and songs from their new album, incredible sounds created over a 20-year career, all withstanding the test of time.

Listening to them live, it’s not hard to see where bands like The Shins and Arcade Fire drew their inspirations from.

I’m going to have to mention the sound quality at The Rechabite Main Hall too. From every corner of this beautifully repurposed space, the sound is phenomenal. It resonates with perfect balance. Well done Rechabite for providing Perth with a fresh new live venue we can all enjoy and get behind.

On the tail end of a massive set of 20 plus songs, they exited the stage. Little did we know they were to return for a three-song encore, not before confessing they’d only been hiding behind the red curtains like the Wizard of Oz, admitting they felt the gratitude and love of the crowd tonight.

For the first time this evening the crowd got rowdy, and their efforts were rewarded ending the night on a high with everyone dancing their little tooshies off to The Slow Descent into Alcoholism.

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another decade.

Words and photos DANA WEEKS

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