Wednesday, September 28, 2005


The greatest thing about the Arcade Fire is that they're one of the few bands that not only survived the hype but exceeded it. What few naysayers I've encountered still haven't seen them live, and that may be the clincher. I just got back from catching them for the third time, and they were better than I had ever seen them. Win Butler, the singer, apologetically stated that they're not coming back until they have "a million new songs." Indeed, it's hard to believe their album "Funeral" has only been out for a year, since it feels like such a longstanding part of the musical fabric, and that it's pretty much been that album exclusively that's driven their shows throughout their ascent.. Covers tonight included an opening tease of Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" before they played "Wake Up," and then later a great cover of Bowie's "Five Years." I've also heard them cover Talking Heads ("This Must Be the Place"), Magnetic Fields ("Born in a Train") and Yeah Yeah Yeahs ("Maps"). For the uninitiated, none of these bands really give a clue what Arcade Fire is like, let alone what they're like live: beautiful, cathartic, violent, graceful, messy - all at once. I'd be really curious to see how they go over opening for U2 this Fall.

I'll leave it to the history books to determine who's to blame/credit/thank for making off-key vocals so fashionable. Bright Eyes and Modest Mouse seem like two prime suspects. The latter's Isaac Brock produced the new disc by Wolf Parade, who opened for Arcade Fire.


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