The Arcade Fire Play Bowery Ballroom: We Bet it's the Best Show of the Year - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
November 10, 2004
Of all the (mostly) great shows I saw during CMJ, nothing even comes close to the brilliance of The Arcade Fire show at Arlene's Grocery. Not even CLOSE. This new Canadian band is the Barry Bonds of indie rock (minus the silver crucifix earring, thankfully). The Arcade Fire are so heads and tails above everyone else right now that you wonder if they made a little barter with the devious Red Guy himself to create such a wonderfully unique, other-worldly sound. How else can you explain that their live performance completely blows away their album Funeral, which is as close to a perfect recording that I've heard in a long, long time.

If you come late to an Arcade Fire show and can't see the stage, you're more than missing out. They are to be seen as well as heard. The Arcade Fire successfully translate their quirky, grand spectacle of an album into, well, a quirky, grand spectacle of a concert. The drummer (and whoever in the band feels like picking up sticks) pounds not just on his kit, but the walls, the amps, the rafters, whatever he can find. The husband/wife team of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, the originators of the band, take turns yelping and convulsing, until the other members realize that there's yelping going on and then they too start yelping and convulsing. At the Arlene's show, the bassist (or was it the guitarist? they were equally insane) went up to Butler and started smacking him in the head as he sang. I mean, smacking him HARD. You gotta be tight with your band members when you let them smack you in the head. The Arcade Fire are a team effort. Yes, technically Win Butler is the front man, but there is no part of this band that is relegated to the background. Never before had I been so interested in watching the bassist, or drummer, or second guitarist, or keyboardist, in a band.

The Arcade Fire sound like nobody else. Are they Neutral Milk Hotel? The Walkmen? The Talking Heads? Joy Division? They're all those bands and none of those bands. They are, dare I say, better.

This show is sold-out. So if you don't already have tickets, stop reading, go to ebay or craig's list and pay whatever they are going for. Because who knows when their contract with that sassy guy we call Satan runs out. This is a band to get extremely excited about. Hype doesn't do them justice. Franz Ferdinand had "hype." The Arcade Fire have talent. And if they keep at it, one day they just may hit 700 home runs too.

The Arcade Fire play Bowery Ballroom Thursday, November 11th


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