|New Pornographers, photo copyright Marina Chavez|
One big question remains a few days before the now sold-out New Pornographers show at Mr. Smalls Friday, and that is, “Will Dan Bejar and Neko Case perform with the band?” This is leg two of the supergroup's Brill Bruisers tour, a twelve stop tour that sees them play a string of Canadian and smaller East Coast towns. One might imagine the pair sitting out this round after already hitting the big market New York/Chicago/Boston circuit in November.
The answer? We get Bejar, not Case. Here's a review of their Thursday show in Toronto that mentions Bejar, and here's a photo of him with Devojka of support act Operators. You can also trek through the #newpornographers hashtag on instagram to see the lineup from their shows this past weekend in Montreal and Toronto, and you'll see Bejar's frizzy mane but Case is nowhere in sight. One of the photos even has the caption, “no Neko Case tonight, but lots and lots of Dan Bejar..."
It's a letdown for sure - when you see the Pens play, you want both Crosby and Malkin in the lineup - but with a collective of musicians this strong, the overall product will not suffer. (Plus, get a load of this 20 song setlist from their show a couple nights ago, complete with a three song encore that ends with a pair from Twin Cinema.)
Opening for New Pornographers is Operators, Dan Boeckner's new project. Formerly signed to Sub Pop with his band Wolf Parade, Boeckner is probably better known today for his work with Divine Fits, his band with Britt Daniel of Spoon.
Operators played Pittsburgh twice last year, as support for Future Islands and then again for Spoon. I caught them for the latter gig and was impressed with their dark, danceable New Order feel. (We wrote that they have a “synth-heavy dance-rock vibe that picks up where Handsome Furs left off.”)
Here's the track “Cruel” from their debut EP. You can also see photos of their performance with Spoon in our review of the show.
-- B. Conway