Remembering Arcade Fire and The National. - Oh My Rockness

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Remembering Arcade Fire and The National.

May 02, 2007
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After a particularly cantankerous backgammon game one recent evening, a High Life-fueled discussion ensued about the legacy of the bands we currently love to listen to. The question was posed that of all the bands we're into these days, how many, if any, would actually be remembered in twenty or thirty years. Would any current band illicit a "wow" from the future generation when we one day boast that we saw them play live?

We came up with a shortlist of band nominees and found excuses to remove pretty much all of them. One of the two artists that made our final cut was none other than Arcade Fire, who just so happens to be playing Radio City Music Hall and United Palace Theater this week. Of course, we made a clear caveat that Arcade Fire would have to make more than just one amazing album and probably more than two, in order to really secure their spot in musical immortality. But we think they can do it.

If Arcade Fire keeps it up, history and our children will have no problem remembering them with wonder. Here's hoping they do it, purely for selfish purposes. It will give us much needed middle-age coolness points to tell teenagers in 2037 that we once saw their pop grandeur on display at tiny Arlene's Grocery in NYC. And when they ask, "What was it like to see them when they were just starting out?" we can say with no uncertainty, "It ruled." And then they'll laugh because everyone knows that no one says "rule" anymore.

But, you know, we shouldn't necessarily count The National out. And we're not just saying their music should be remembered because they happen to be opening for Arcade Fire on this tour, and it would nicely tie our little theme together. We mean it. Any time a band comes out with an album ("The Alligator") that was, in our opinion, the best of its given year (2005), one has to wonder if they can do it a few more times. And if they can pull off a few more exceptional records, they'd be right there at the top of our list. Granted this is a little like playing golf and saying, "Man, if this hole was a par 5 instead of a par 3, I would have made a par." The National have one great album. But that amazingly orchestrated album left us betting they have more in the tank. Listen to their upcoming, "The Boxer," and tell us what you think. Are they on their way? Five sold-out shows at Bowery later this month seems to suggest they are.

Oh, and just in case you're curious, the other artist that made our shortlist was Sufjan Stevens (another five sold-out shows at Bowery vet). That's pretty much a guarantee.

Arcade Fire and The National play United Palace Theater on Monday, May 7th and Tuesday, May 8th and Radio City Music Hall, on Wednesday, May 9th

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