The New Pornographers: Rialto Theater, Tucson, AZ 9/21/07

With Neko Case and Dan Bejar playing live with The New Pornographers, artists that had two of 2006’s best albums (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and Destroyer’s Rubies), the evening’s performance in Tucson could have been billed as: The New Pornographers feat: Neko Case and Dan Bejar.  But instead the marquee of the historic Rialto Theater plainly read “ The New Pornographers,” as the Canadians visited the desert in support of their fourth album Challengers.

Although Case appears on each New Pornographers record, the redheaded beauty is hit or miss on the band’s tours due to her stand-alone solo career.  From the opener (“All The Things That Go To Make Heaven and Earth”) to the follow-up (“Use It”), it was apparent that this Case live version of the New Pornographers dominates the smaller scaled lineup with Newman’s niece Kathryn Calder handling the “she” vocals.  Meanwhile, the other porno red head, front-man A.C. Newman delivered his lispy vocals with a fiery gusto on “Sing Me Spanish Techno” alongside his punchy rhythm guitar playing.

The other hit or miss member – Bejar, whose “acquired taste” Destroyer goblin vocals provides  the outfit with a mysterious dark edge from their otherwise shiny pop, made his presence known during a handful of appearances, each with a different beer bottle.  “ The Spirit of Giving,” “Jackie Dressed in Cobras,” “Testament to Youth in Verse” and the new “Myriad Harbour,” which dominated with its infectious guitar riff, gave eerie balance to the sparkly Newman penned numbers of “Twin Cinema,” “The Laws Have Changed” and “All The Old Show Stoppers.”  Although Bejar would shyly stumble off and on the stage, disturbing the energy of the show, he’s lucky his songs are solid, otherwise his presence would result in an easy “boo.”

Challengers was the new album to promote, but 2005’ Twin Cinema received plenty of stage time, as two Case Cinema sung numbers- “The Bones of An Idol” and “These Are The Fables” were pure and sweet. “The Bleeding Heart Show” complete with its “Hey La” four voiced round chorus (now a Univesity of Phoenix commercial) established another highlight along with the powerful first single off Challengers- “My Rights Versus Yours.” 

As the New Pornographers ended with “The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism” from 2000’s Mass Romantic, the collaborative called it a night, proving you don’t need to over-hype the appearance of Neko Case to make the $20 admission fee worth the trip.

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide