Monday, October 03, 2005

Live Review: Arcade Fire@The Riviera 9/28/05

Never Shout Arcade Fire by Robyn Detterline Wednesday night at the Riviera Theatre, your voice would have been lost in the cacophonous chorus of all the other hoots and hollers from all the other gazillion people who love this band as much as you do. The Arcade Fire may be too big for indie rock's good. In a year they've gone from Arcade-sumunuh-who? to selling out the 2500-person capacity Riv. After openers Wolf Parade finished their set the dude behind me asked his friend, "Are you ready for The Fire, man?" That’s right. They’re already "The Fire." They're selling thousands and thousands of CD's in every record store in North America. They've taken over Sigur Ros' spot as every celebrity's token favorite cool rock band. They're pun-tastically hot. The Riv was wall-to-wall with a diverse crowd of folks that could have just as easily been waiting for Mclusky or Tori Amos. At five till nine The Arcade Fire picked up their guitars and violins and French horns and took the stage, opening with "Wake Up," a needless command as the mantric "ohs" from the audience all but smothered the band's own chorale. Their underground buzz manifested itself as an explosion of neurotic devotion as every gray-haired man and every pixie girl belted along every word of every song, and I could just picture them listening to Funeral every day for the past year, manically carving "purify the colors, purify my mind," into their flesh. Vocalist Win Butler led the brigade through their set of popular tunes, throwing in Dylan and Bowie covers, and some gems from their (as obscure as any Arcade Fire product can still be) eponymous debut, including "I'm Sleeping in a Submarine" and "Headlights Look Like Diamonds." The guys and gals on stage threw in cheesy theatrics, like biting and mock fighting, and in weird moment of compulsion Richard Reed Parry was wrapped in the cords from his bandmate's neo-Revolutionary jacket. In between acts the gang was free to lounge in the onstage funeral parlor-esque sofas; however, the energy was so severe there was little need to do so. The Arcade Fire capered through most of Funeral, an inevitable set as the band’s repertoire is still limited. Butler seemed apologetic for this lack of variety, musing that the they’ve been in Chicago four or five times, and they aren’t coming back again until they have "one million" new songs. Our laughter was tinged with fear because this band is so strong and bizarre, the promise doesn’t seem so far-fetched. The group finished with the deceptively sweet "In the Backseat." Regine Chassagne’s voice, chilling and powerful, carried us to the song's apex; however, from there the end fizzled, with each member of the band seeming to stop at their own leisure, leaving me with the dissatisfaction of an anti-climax. I didn't know it was over until the house lights came up. In the confusion there was a dazed stumble for the exits, but soon the exodus came to a standstill. It took twenty minutes just to make it to the lobby, and I didn't understand why until I found out Thursday morning that I'd missed the real encore: the group decided to trek to the vestibule and do an impromptu acoustic jam session, a fitting touch from a band incapable of stopping their own awkward romp down the path of pop rock heroism. Technorati:


Anonymous Bill V said...

The indie kids might not be so happy that they couldn't all get into to this show, but that's gonna happen to a couple of groups every year. This show was great, I'll never forget the faces as the Fire blew away everyone who saw them at Lollapalooza, even the Dave Matthews and U2 fans. I would have prefered a couple of shows at the Vic, but had a great time last Wednesday and love all of the sounds as well as the theatrics.

10/03/2005 11:57:00 AM  

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