Last Night: Wolf Parade at Palladium Showroom

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Better than: A parade with two grand marshals, or a wolf pack with two alpha dogs.

Dan Boeckner. (Mikal Beth Hughey)

Wolf Parade’s live show emphasized the equal importance shared by the band’s two creative minds, switching between Spencer Krug’s oddball synth-driven melodrama and Dan Boeckner’s more accessible guitar rock almost song for song. Rare is the two-headed band with such immediately identifiable songwriters that manages to keep one from overshadowing the other. What’s even more unusual is that neither seemed to be an obvious favorite of last night’s crowd. “Spencer or Dan?” is the indie-rock “John or Paul?” of the oughts, except nowadays there is no correct answer.

But as for which album is better, 2005’s Apologies to Queen Mary or the just-released At Mount Zoomer? That one is a bit easier to answer, and I think even the band would agree that Apologies resonated with listeners a bit more than this year’s effort. (Then again, it took a few listens to Apologies before I could get past the Modest Mouse comparisons and hear the brilliance of the band’s spastic, herky-jerky songs; hopefully Zoomer will likewise grow on me.) Though the night was heavy on the new material, they opened with Apologies’ first track, “You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son,” followed by “Dear Sons And Daughters of Hungry Ghosts,” and sent the audience into a frenzy during the encore with three older songs.

Unlike many shows, which start and finish strong but tend to lull toward the middle, the band seemed and audience seemed to become more energized as the night went on. Live, songs from Zoomer benefited from grittier, grimier and more propulsive performances than are captured on the disc. Boeckner’s and Dante DeCaro’s cranked-up guitars and Krug’s and Hadji Bakara’s overdriven synths and keyboards added vitality to the new songs. However, the loud cheers for the opening riff of “Grounds For Divorce” about a half dozen songs into the set drove home the point that Queen Mary ruled over Mount Zoomer, as far as the loyal subjects in the crowd were concerned.

The band closed their first performance in Dallas with an epic version of the 10-minute “Kissing A Beehive,” segueing into “It’s A Curse,” with Krug and Boeckner switching verses, an appropriate way to end the first set.

But the undeniable highlight was the second of the encore’s three songs, an absolutely awe-inspiring, goosebump-raising version of “I’ll Believe In Anything;” the giddy audience couldn’t help but sing along with the “Nobody knows you, and nobody gives a damn” chorus. They could have ended it right then, but instead closed with the twisting, rollicking “Fancy Claps.” -Jesse Hughey

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: If I were faced with a Sophie’s Choice, I’d have to go with Spencer. By The Way: Krug’s Sunset Rubdown plays The Granada on September 29. Tickets go on sale today at noon. Random Note: “Is it true that Dallas is the birthplace of G.G. Allin?” Boeckner asked at one point. It is not. Maybe he was thinking of Gibby Haynes.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.