Wolf Parade Reunite at The Bowery BallroomMay 23rd, 2016
Wolf Parade – The Bowery Ballroom – May 20, 2016
There have been few indie rock groups as prolific as Wolf Parade. Beginning more than a decade ago with 2005’s bellowing and brilliant Apologies to the Queen Mary and streaming outward from the original members, who never altered, have been various groups and projects all making profound marks of their own. It’s fun to see eyebrows raise when you tell people that record they’re really digging comes from one of the original Wolf Parade members. Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, who share vocal and writing duties, counterbalance each other, completing a potent yin and yang. The former is a spell-casting, poetic songwriter, part Count Dracula, part maestro magician on the keys. The latter, a throwback rock and roller, who shreds guitar in the manner of timeless axe wielders—the type to rock a tank top and a tat of his girl’s name.
Band members feeling the pull of independent musical pursuits, Wolf Parade announced an indefinite hiatus in 2010, leaving a black hole in the alternative-rock universe. Now, perhaps fulfilled from their own endeavors and maybe feeling how much they’ve been missed—while also missing one another—they’ve come back together to a resounding five sold-out appearances at The Bowery Ballroom. The great thing about a reunion show is that the audience tends to be filled with devoted followers, many of whom are coiled like a spring, waiting to sing along and flail about to whatever specially picked fruits that make that evening’s set list. The collective electric buzz of anticipation was rewarded on Friday night with an array of crowd-rousing songs, including “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son,” “Language City,” “Grounds for Divorce,” “Oh You, Old Thing,” “Soldier’s Grin” and “I’ll Believe in Anything.”
Before that last number, Krug admitted that at one time the song was dead to him. “Then we played it the other night … it’s alive again.” That it certainly was, and its life was injected into the packed room, some revelers returning to the mosh mode of years past, one of whom had seen Wolf Parade nineteen times and was covered in tattoos of their lyrics— another had run into Boeckner outside of the venue on the street just before the show, and in exchange for a well wishes had been made the guitarist’s guest. Everyone seemed to have a story, and all of them had come to see one of their favorite bands return to play paint-peeling rock with gusto. And for five nights, their universe was made whole again. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly