The Arcade Fire get way too much attention from this blog but I can't help it--they give off that cult vibe like the Causey Way, only AF fans don't try to spike the Kool-Aid; musically, they are both challenging and accessible, meaning they can speak to the cool kids and to the geeks simultaneously; above all, their songwriting is pure orchestrated sonic alchemy, mixing that indie thing with elements of soul, 60's rock, 80's post-rock, and even occasionally a countrified flavour (witness the beginning of "Crown of Love" from their Funeral LP to see what I mean).
When I heard that they were going to play in a church, I was a little bit hesitant and kind of wary. I half expected them to announce that all along, they were really a Christian rock band and that we were all being baptised in the name of our Saviour. Bizarre thoughts like this would make any self-respecting agnostic shudder. Luckily, they just wanted a room with great acoustics. The show was pure and cultivated and we didn't mind that the lights were on. In fact, I've never seen 600 Montreal rock fans go so long without a cigarette.
(Salvation Army Logo)
On the stage, there was an engraving that read "Redeemed". Their keyboard was a "Prophet 6000". As they played their virtuosic double-bill (the opening band couldn't make it!), I couldn't help but notice the Salvation Army flag in the corner that read "Blood and Fire". Despite the odd surroundings, they kept the crowd on its feet for the whole show. I couldn't help but sing along to several of the songs, to the disappointment of many concert-goers around me.
Highlights were all over the place like Couche-Tards, but I'd have to say that "Wake Up" was the song of the night. "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" was also very well done, although my friend Gen preferred "Rebellion (Lies)". "No Cars Go" never fails to disappoint either.
Régine showed off her honed singing skills (she sounds more confident than the last time I saw her on stage) and the crowd was musically pacified. "In the Backseat" turned out to be one of their better songs, even though it didn't stand out when I listened to "Funeral". [Ed. Note: As soon as I track down the DJ from Reggie's Pub, who accidentally nabbed my Promo Copy, I will post a review of "Funeral" on JB.] Plaintive and moody, it built up slowly but surely, until cascading into a powerful crescendo near the end of the song.
(Photo courtesy of the Montreal Mirror)
Admittedly, the AF are not for everyone. If you listen to Simple Plan or anything formulaic, you may have trouble with AF songs. If you are a hip-hop backpacker, this may not turn your crank (unless you dig soul music or luminaries like K-OS). Likewise, if you are like my cousin and can't appreciate a band if they're local, keep the line moving and thanks for stopping by. No offense if you're from the preceeding categories. You're people too.
Here is a nice set of Arcade Fire photos from the live show. [Ed. Note: Kudos to Dirty Water for the snazzy shots!] If you're sick and tired of listening to canned music being pissed out of 4000 watt speakers at your local techno orifice, I would suggest that you attend an Arcade Fire show. Salvation can be bought after all; it only cost me eight bucks on Saturday.
The Arcade Fire are on tour! New Yorkers and Bostonians are being spoiled by two fine bands for the price of one--the Hidden Cameras are orgasmically talented. Anyone who sings a line like "The drugs get dealt / and the cocks get felt / on the church grounds" deserves your undivided attention.
Black Sheep Inn,
(25 minutes north of Ottawa)
The Trasheteria (Club Vinyl)
w/The Barmitvah Bros.
w/Bell Orchestre & Heston Rifle
CMJ Merge Records Showcase
New York, NY
Halifax Pop Explosion
New York, NY
w/ The Hidden Cameras
T.T. the Bears
w/The Hidden Cameras
Noyes Community Center
First Unitarian Church
[Ed. Note: In other AF-related news (Gulp. I almost feel like I'm their unpaid P.R. person, for fuck's sake!), Merge Records is promoting the "Funeral" LP with a flashy animation on their main site. You can listen to the full version of "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" for a limited time only. That is all.]