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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Arcade Fire - review

Did you see The Arcade Fire at the Crystal Ballroom last night? Holy crap! It was the best show I've ever seen in my life. We bought tickets months ago, but got their early and stood in line, so that we could get a place right up by the stage. The sound in that room is terrible, unless you're within 15 feet of the stage.

8, 9 and then 10 people on stage, all playing their hearts out. It was absolutely brilliant. Winn Butler jumped out into the crowd a few times and cut up his hand, he held it up and it was all bloody, so he asked the mulletted guitarist from Wolf Parade to play guitar on the next song, Wake Up.

He also told a little story about how David Bowie "is still insane enough to like us, so he asked us to play with him for a recent TV benefit concert, but we got cut so that Rob Thomas could play." People started booing at that.

"What?" he said, "Rob Thomas is a gifted songwriter. (pause) Just kidding. No, I was glad to be there, because I saw a duet between Billy Idol and Lisa Marie Presley that I'll take to the grave, because I heard their singing before it was auto-tuned!" The crowd laughed. Then the band broke into "5 years", the lead-off track from "Ziggy Stardust".

At the end of the night, the band walked through the crowd, still playing, and went out onto Burnside and played in the middle of the street, surrounded by hundreds of fans. It was probably the closest I'll get to a rock & roll riot, and for that I'm grateful.

They played (mostly in this order):
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
Une Annee Sans Lumiere
Headlights Look Like Diamonds
Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
Crown Of Love
Brazil (cover)
Five Years (Bowie cover)
No Cars Go
Rebellion (Lies)
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Wake Up
The Backseat

The first opener, Bell Orchestre was a good, 5 piece instrumental orch-pop band, consisting of 3 members of Arcade Fire (on violin, upright bass, and french horn), plus a trumpet/melodica/percussion player and adrummer. The drummer was very young-looking, but was a really good player, very precise and well-thought-out parts. The dude from Arcade Fired who looks kind of like Woody Allen or Buddy Holly was playing upright bass, and sometimes would just
pound on it, like a drum.

The second opener was Wolf Parade, or as I like to call them "Ass Parade". They were absolutely terrible and un-listenable, except for the very last song, when they finally discovered what I like to call "melody & harmonic structure". Jonny and I exchanged text messages that went like this:
Me: This sucks
Him: You don't like Seinfeld's band (a reference to the bass player's resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld)
Me: They sucked ass
Him: Yep
Me (after spotting a mutual friend): Brents over here by the gtrs
Him: They need a Ridlin

I had to have a few drinks to get through their set.

All in all, a good night.
update: Beth Bagel had a similar experience at the show.


BethInPortland said...

Yes, well said. I also posted a blog about the show this morning. One cannot help being ecstatic. You guys were lucky to be in the bar away from the stupid teenagers trying to mosh. There were two girls that pushed in front of us that looked no older than 12! The scariest thing--I looked around and realized I was old enough to to the parent of most them! Yeesh.

jonny ragel said...

beth- one of those 12 year old 'girls' was really a 'boy'. true- he was feminine in facial features with striking cheekbones and moppy dark hair. however, a chick he was not. think of a latino version of that kid from hanson when he was younger.

bands with 'wolf' in their name are generally going to suck. badly. I've just now made this observation.

(and arcade fire rules).