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[Review] The New Pornographers/Pheno

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

by Arne Sjostedt

The New Pornographers

with Pheno

The Canberra Theatre

Friday 28 March

This was one of those amazing shows that you know is going to resonate with you for weeks, and probably be something you look back on fondly for decades to come. Supporting their latest release In the Morse Code of Brake Lights, The New Pornographers sure made their first visit to Canberra a memorable one.

The evening kicked off with a solo set from local art pop performer Pheno.


Showing impressive vocal and song writing skill, she kept the audience captivated and totally charmed. From the first notes of the title track from her EP Dragon Year, to the moment she gracefully left the stage to welcome the evening’s headline act, she owned her space. With world class lead guitar licks effortlessness spilling out of her, Pheno is one of those musicians that leave you in awe of her willingness to give both something to challenge your idea of what pop art electro music can be, while at the same time making sure you have been entertained like you have not quite been before.

When the The New Pornographers hit the stage, they played a deeply generous, infectious brand of music reminiscent of so many things you are aware of, crafted together and wrung out in such a fashion as to be a new, almost alien in its capacity to bring wonder.

Like an enlightened carnival for music lovers, the experience was a factor of so many ingredients all blowing the minds of the eager crowd. The layered front-end vocals, led by a reserved A.C. Newman and graceful Niko Case, Todd Fancey’s overdriven sonic guitar-scapes, the flawless energy of Jo Seider on skins. It was a feast for the eyes as much as the ears. Each musician brought their own character and personality, driving every note with ferocity and force.

This was a night that left the deepest impression of greatness having turned up and rocked out.


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