Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: Arcade Fire Live @ Glasgow Barrowlands 12/03/07

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Arcade Fire Live @ Glasgow Barrowlands 12/03/07

My head is still spinning from a truly outstanding performance by possibly the most talented band out there right now. Every man and his dog knows Arcade Fire these days, but what they might not know is how amazing they are live. No fewer than 10 musicians crammed onto the decent sized Barrowlands stage and performed an absolutely jaw-dropping set that featured the majority of new album "Neon Bible" and all of the great moments from "Funeral". There has been a bit of indifference towards "Neon Bible" in some circles, the general consensus is it's not as good as their excellent 2004 debut "Funeral". But, having seen these songs performed live I would have to argue. The new songs were euphoric, anthemic and utterly spell-binding. Having witnessed A Silver Mt Zion huddled together on stage at the low-key ABC 2 last year, Mogwai's face-shattering volume at Edinburgh's Usher Hall, Radiohead during the OK Computer tour or even Sigur Ros 5 years ago on the very same Barrowlands stage, Arcade Fire more than matched these wonderful gigs with a near legendary performance.

With an unbelieveable amount extra of instrumentation (mandolin, french horns, spine-tingling violins, megaphones, hurdy gurdy and just about everything they could get their hands on) songs like opener "Keep The Car Running" sound far more dynamic in a live setting. The instrument swapping between members was impeccable. The drummer on the opening song would later find himself on guitar during the encore of "Wake Up", having already laid his hand to keyboard duties earlier. Every single musician in Arcade Fire makes a telling contribution at every oppurtunity. It might be one member's attempt to generate feedback sounds from a megaphone or frontman Win Butler's powerful vocals, but every note, tone, drone and chord combines and results in one big massive anthemic wall of sound.

Of the new tracks, "Black Mirror", the dramatic "Intervention", the Hawaiin-flavoured "The Well and The Lighthouse" and the vocal harmonies during "Black Wave/Black Vibrations" all sounded fantastic. Only the album title track, "Neon Bible" was a slight letdown.

But then the best performances were saved for the "Funeral"-era songs. An excellent rendition of "Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)", which brought back all the great memories of my stay in Canada a couple of years ago, was followed by the epic "Rebellion (Lies)", complete with that subtle, but delightful chord change in the chorus. A raucous version of "Neighbourhood #3(Power Out)" easily got the longest and loudest response from the crowd that I have ever witnessed in the Barrowlands. It was near hysteria, but this band deserve every ounce of the applause, trust me.

But the best was, undoubtedly, saved for last. With frontman Win Butler soaked in sweat, he somehow summoned extra energy to lead his collective through a magificent version of "Wake Up" for the encore. He was so caught up in the delirium that he lauched his large frame into the crowd, before careering down to the bottom of the venue, in the process being engulfed by hundreds of frenzied Glasweigens. Amidst the pandemonium, its not known if he made it out alive.

All I can say is, Arcade Fire put in easily one of the best performances I have ever had the pleasure of being involved in . Involved is the correct term beause you cannot help but be swept away by those euphoric choruses and incessant, driving beats. There is so much happening onstage that it is impossible to look everywhere. Anybody who does not like this band basically has no soul, in my opinion. Arcade Fire could quite rightly claim to being the best in the business right now, they are certainly a very special band. I paid over the odds to a ticket tout to get into this gig, but in truth Arcade Fire are worth selling your arms and legs to witness. Miss this band at your peril!.

If you want to see Win Butler dive into the crowd, view this video.



At 13 March, 2007, Anonymous graham said...

Sounds like they lived up to expectations. I wasn't at all jealous about missing this, but having read that maybe i am,...just a little.

next time...

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