Artist: Arcade Fire
Venue: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Victoria, Australia (in the somewhat elite seated section – not that we sat down)
Date: Wednesday, 21 January, 2014
Who?: The amorphous ensemble from up Quebec way with a huge indie/crossover following, a big equipment haulage budget, and a welcome desire to dazzle.
Crowd?: Thousands of adoring folks with about 30% beards and lots of skinny jeans.
Best Bits: The aforementioned razzle dazzle, human bobblehead costumes, about three absolute killer tracks.
Could be Better: Heavier basslines, better mix (percussion was too muted), perhaps less cowbell.
Dream Venue: At a festival where they had to tighten up the setlist
Dream Lineup: I’m thinking Echo & the Bunnymen, Bright Eyes… and reformed Canadian gag-popsters Corkie and the Juice Pigs:
Worth a Second Look?: At a festival, yes. At this price solo, nah, probably not.
Give us a look: OK, here’s 67 mins of action (Win wore the same jacket last night)
This album would be up there with The Lemonheads‘ It’s a Shame About Ray and Rat Cat‘s Tingles EP as the CD I remember being most regularly in mates’ collections in the early 1990s. And I reckon it might have ended up getting more regular spins than the other two.
This is a thoroughly mature, fully realised and powerful release. At the moody (almost gothic) end of the rock spectrum, it contains eleven examples of well-measured songwriting and lush instrumentation.
The producer here also shaped works from Echo and the Bunnymen and Stan Ridgway, and there are aural similarities here as drums are given that big sound, guitars jangle, and vocals soar.
Frontman Ronny Peno (belying his Iggy Pop-ish stage persona) has a great voice that the band could build songs around . There is killer track after killer track here, with The Love Song, Godbless, DC and Sweetheart the best of the bunch.
I saw these dudes play this album in its entirety (and in order) early last year (as part of the Don’t Look Back series) and they’ve still got it. As there is a distinct paucity of video clips online from the band, here’s some pretty crude footage of them from this year’s Big Day Out:
File under: Take pride in these ditties