Drummers are interesting. They are definitely a good reason to see a band play live. The drumming is a sensory experience that you must be in the room to fully appreciate. Often the drums are what drives the music, its heart. This is the case of the New Pornographers. It was the case with The Who, and Cream, and many other bands. Kurt Dahle, the drummer provided the heart of the performance. At one point he was playing an acoustic guitar, drumming and drinking a beer with a wicked grin. It is fun to watch someone so obviously enjoying his job.
The band as a whole is play with airtight precision, but with such energy and life, like an amazing living music machine. The band was missing two original members, Neko Case and Dan Behar, very talented musicians, but if you had not been aware of this, you would not notice anything missing. Kathryn Calder and Carl Newman covered the lead vocals with ease, and the complex and tightly timed harmonies provided by the rest of the band shimmered above the pulse of well mixed instruments. The New Pornographers do not play solos, but a beautifully embellished tapestry of harmonic vocals over a wall of well blended rhythms and chords. The whole effect is so tightly woven as to appear seamless. They are each in their own rights talented musicians capable of solo work. This makes their transformation into the precision music machine, without losing energy and taking advantage of their many skills, amazing and thoroughly engrossing to watch and listen to.