Published May 31, 2011Wolf Parade's appearance at the Commodore Ballroom was their last before a planned hiatus, and it has been widely rumoured that this was the group's final show ever. Still, the promise of seeing a beloved band's last hurrah wasn't enough to coax Vancouver concertgoers out of their homes, as the venue was noticeably below capacity. Still, the band appeared to be unfazed by the lacklustre turnout, as singer/guitarist Dan Boeckner happily announced that it was a "friends and family affair."
The crowd was slow to come out of its shell, and the band didn't receive much of a response for newer cuts like "What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)" and "Palm Road." As usual, frontmen Boeckner and Spencer Krug alternated on lead vocals, trading off song for song, almost without exception. The two singers looked oddly paradoxical: Krug was clad in a drab T-shirt and spent much of the show with his shoulder-length hair dangling in front of his face; Boeckner, on the other hand, wore a tidy button-down shirt and sported a militaristic crew cut.
After the sluggish start, the energy eventually picked up. Predictably, it was the fan-favourite "I'll Believe in Anything" that tipped the balance, as the crowd reached towards the heavens and screamed along to Krug's dark but triumphant declaration that "Nobody knows you / And nobody gives a damn."
It was the cuts from 2005's Apologies to the Queen Mary that went over best, and encore performances of "This Heart's on Fire" and "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" were explosive. The fans were so enamoured that they chanted for a second encore, and Wolf Parade obliged. Krug invited the crowd onto the stage for a "shitty cover song," which turned out to be Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." The band finished the night by jamming a sloppy version of the classic sing-along while engulfed by dozens of audience members. It was atrocious, but nevertheless an endearingly hokey way to mark the end of an era.