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Review & Photos: Indie rockers The New Pornographers in Columbus

MAY 9, 2023
By Neil Shumate, OOTB Publicaitons

Upbeat indie rockers The New Pornographers have been around since the mid-90s and their experienced talents were displayed collectively last night in Columbus as part of the band's extensive tour that has sold out dates.
The supergroup of sorts performed many familiar older songs from their past, but they did focus on newer tracks from their latest release Continue As A Guest, including: “Really Really Light,” “Pointus Pilate’s Home Movies,” “Last and Beautiful” and others. Incorporated saxophone parts in the new remotely recorded album brings an 80’s feeling and fortunately the sax sections and layers were live, performed by Japanese Breakfast’s Adam Schatz (Landlady) who assisted on keys stage right with vocalist, keyboardist Kathryn Calder (Immaculate Machine, Frontperson) stage left. 
The seven musicians with solo or side projects shared the stage as a band, filling it like The Decemberists—but instead of an accordion, the tambourine—or Modest Mouse, bringing a large sound with no distractions as fans lightly bobbed their heads and waved their arms.
Paying homage to the 20th anniversary of Electric Version, the Canadian-based band performed “It’s Only Divine Right” and “The Laws Have Changed.” Other older performances included songs from Mass Romantic, Challengers, Whiteout Conditions and other albums.
There wasn’t much banter aside from some thank you’s and brief song intros as the band stayed focused to pave through a lengthy set list; however, they did pause briefly to joke about guitarist, vocalist A.C. Newman’s (Superconductor, Zumpano) left shoe inevitably becoming untied, which Newman laughed has somehow happened frequently during the tour.
The live electro sounds vibed like The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the acoustics and vocals were reminiscent of Spoon or Arcade Fire. But, it wasn’t really the music itself that stood out, instead it was the lyrics, alongside harmonious vocals with wide ranges that fused and blended perfectly among the onstage singers, which ultimately stole the show. Neko Case’s phenomenal vocals alone sound like a large, full choir.

Wild Pink opened with a mellow set of tempo changing tracks that showcased poetic, storyteller lyrics and vocals like that of Bob Dylan or Springsteen, with catchy drum beats and periodic inclusions of a twangy slide guitar. 
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS (click to enlarge)

WILD PINK (click photos to enlarge)