Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Arcade Fire's Halloween Party

31 OCTOBER, 2013
Commensurate with the release of Reflektor, Arcade Fire put together a small series of tuneup shows to celebrate and get a feel for how the new material translated live. Following dates in Brooklyn and Miami and a Bay Area appearance at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, they did two street gigs in LA, and to top it off, took over the Hollywood Palladium on Halloween. Dress code was formal/costume with venue discouraging masks, so tux and facepaint made the day, and it only took two songs in to be completely soaked in sweat. They arrived in the "big head figures" featured in the videos for "Reflektor" and "Sprawl II", strolling up a red carpet serenaded by mariachis, to the joy of the lined up masses. After two days of industry gigs, the band seemed charged and ready, feeding off the partisan crowd in a rare small venue gig. The Reflektor material translated well, and the band tore into it with abandon. As always, while Win Butler is the main vocalist and face of the group, it's Regine Chassigne who is its heart and soul. Flying around the stage between instruments, backing vocals, or pantomiming songs, she put on her own little pageant for anyone savvy enough to watch.
"Reflektor" was the perfect entry point, and attention did not flag through its eight minute duration.  Longtime fans were rewarded as they jumped into "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), and the floor went ballistic. To take in the journey of this band, from scrappy Montreal upstarts, to their left-field Grammy win for Record Of The Year for The Suburbs, was to ruminate on what made them and kept them going. It's that innate sense of community/inclusion that makes this band so special. The remainder of the set kept almost exclusively to the new album, and "Joan Of Arc", "Afterlife" and especially "Normal Person" benefitted from their live energy. Continuing their subtle tributes to the passing of Lou Reed, they managed to work some of the Velvet Underground's "Beginning To See The Light" into the intro of "Headlights Look Like Diamonds", from their debut EP. Loosening up, they rocked out a tight cover of Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge", and finished the set with "Here Comes The Night Time". Finally claiming the spotlight fully, Regine led the crowd through "Sprawl II" to cap off a transcendant evening.
...working the red carpet, pre-show

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