On paper, it seemd like an odd double bill, Field Report and New Pornographers at Summerfest. Chris Porterfield’s introspective electrofolk, followed by the power pop superharmonies of Carl Newman and company.
On balance, it worked. Mother nature complied, the rain that seemed to want to ruin things stayed away and Field Report’s dusk set soundtracked the fading summer sun. Porterfield was genuinely pleased at the turnout and was glad to be back home as this hometown stop served as a brief reset before going out for a bunch more festival dates this summer, including Eaux Claires in July. He brought in all-star Milwaukee sibs Vic & Gab to help out with a few songs.
Opening with the appropriately pummelling title track “Brill Bruisers,” New Pornographers came out of the gate charging, followed by the equally powerful “Moves.” Neko Case didn’t make this trip but Kathryn Calder has proven to be a formidable female vocal complement for Carl Newman. Newman’s always-fun stage banter ran from playfully ripping the stage’s sponsor, naming Milwaukee “North America’s ‘Most Livable City'” without any attribution to back it up, to grousing about the turnout — which was quite good, actually — blaming it on competing headliner, “DJ” Paris Hilton.
They turned in a taut 90-minute set that affirmed New Pornographers’ handle as Canada’s Greatest Power Pop Band, a title I just gave them right now. But seriously, are there any challengers to that throne?