Sasquatch 2015, Day 1: The New Pornographers

Jacob Webb
photos by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

"Be careful with that beach ball," a grinning AC Newman said one song into the fourth Sasquatch appearance of The New Pornographers' career. At this point, Newman, de facto co-frontwoman Kathryn Calder, and the group are Sasquatch veterans, and they made sure everyone knew it in a particularly unorthodox way: by letting the crowd know how nice their backstage amenities were. "I don't want to brag," continued Newman, "but we have a toilet in our dressing room. Only like five people have used that besides us today. We're living like f'ing royalty." Humblebrags aside, the New Pornos' set was a reminder that even though their brainy, intricate pop tunes are more clever than a festival set could ever do justice, their catalog is still full of really direct and fun brainy, intricate pop tunes. "Mass Romantic", "Brill Bruisers", "The Laws Have Changed", "Use It", and plenty more New Pornos staples all went over massively. (There was even a moment during "Backstairs" where the band inspired the kind of festival reactions – girls on shoulders, people who aren't on drugs dancing like they are on drugs – that you typically only see on Coachella interstitials.) On paper, the band can seem almost clinical in their melodic precision, but even without their not-even-close-to-secret weapon Neko Case among their ranks (Calder covered her parts with as much gusto as anyone could expect from someone stepping into Case's shoes), the Vancouver sextet were no less vibrant than their most recent neon-lit album cover would conjecture.

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