i been here so long my heart is a parking lot

Sometimes live music has the ability to be bigger than itself. Bigger than the band, bigger than the audience, bigger than what’s happening right before one’s eyes. At the Majestic in Madison, WI, Wolf Parade managed to do just that on November 10, 2008.

Throughout the evening, Wolf Parade whipped out jam after jam, keeping the energy consistently high. The Majestic was packed with rabid fans, each opening note eliciting an impassioned cheer from the crowd. The five gents of Wolf Parade were clearly enjoying themselves, often thanking the crowd and graciously accepting the adulation. Adulation that was well-deserved – “Language City”, “I’ll Believe in Anything”, “Fine Young Cannibals”, and “Kissing the Beehive” were all absolutely ridiculous in the best possible way.

Be you a huge fan or curious newcomer, Wolf Parade has the chops and panache to elevate the evening into a transcendent experience. Live, the songs are utterly danceable and more multi-dimensional than their canned counterparts (which are, by the way, quite lovely). It is not often a performance can make your heart feel at once completely filled and impossibly light, but as was proved yesterday, is something that is entirely possible.

you know the past will stay

After several years away, Mae made their return to Madison, Wisconsin. Joining them at the Majestic were The Honorary Title, Between the Trees, and Far-Less.

Openers Far-Less and Between the Trees were both rather good at what they do, but both were reminiscent of previous Mae opening acts (The Snake, The Cross, The Crown and Copeland, respectively) and of something I would have been much more into three or four years ago. Far-Less had a darker sound, while Between the Trees offered up earnest and hopeful power-pop that is so popular in the Christian rock scene.

The Honorary Title's JarrodUp next was The Honorary Title, who kicked off their set with “Stuck at Sea“. The band played a good mix of material from both of their LPs, reworking a few of the older songs to give them a fresh feel. The newer material went over well, being uptempo and laden with the ever-infectious cht-cht-cht of the hi-hat. Mae's Dave

Rounding off the night was Virginia’s Mae. This time around the band has employed a light & image show to accompany their set. The effect was slightly surreal, especially during the extended instrumental jams.

Though the band recently experienced a slight line-up change, the sound remains wholly the same and the new members fit seamlessly. Despite their latest release dropping just last summer, Mae’s set leaned heavily toward their first album, Destination: Beautiful, including “Embers & Envelopes”, “Soundtrack For Our Movie”, and “Summertime”.

Following the band’s main set was a small benefit show in the Majestic’s upstairs bar. For a $5 donation supporting Habitat For Humanity, fans got to sit up close and personal with Zach, Dave, and Jacob and request their favorite songs in an intimate, acoustic setting. Unfortunately things were cut short due to lead vocalist Dave verging on losing his voice, but the band stuck around to take pictures, sign autographs, and have some one-on-one time with the crowd. Mae will be using the funds raised on tour through these acoustic sets to fund a mission for the band with Habitat to build a house where it is needed. For more information on Mae’s Habitat for Humanity benefit shows, check out their website.

Zach, Dave, and Jacob play an acoustic set