Arcade Fire at Merriweather 8/6/10

(Sorry about the blurry image.  Best I could do.)

Arcade Fire might be the best band in the world right now.  I had heard they were fantastic live, but I was really impressed by their energy last night.  Shows like this make me dislike the use of jumbotrons (or whatever the hell you call the big screens).  It focused too much on frontman Win Butler (who is a very good frontman but not great).  Arcade Fire is very much an ensemble group.  Members switched instruments quite often, and one point two one of of the members were banging on the same bass drum.   It was hard to take everything in.

I’ve only heard “The Suburbs” twice, and was impressed.  It’s not quite as good as the magnificent debut  “Funeral” but it’s a huge improvement on the bloated and self-important “Neon Bible”.  The new songs really worked live – except for “Half Light II” which was abandoned early due to a malfunctioning drum machine.  Luckily, Win Butler laughed it off and the band continued without much of a pout (unlike Ryan Adams or Kings of Leon who chickened out after getting pelted with pigeon shit.)

The last section of the show was the most impressive.  “Neighborhood # 3” got an extended ending that segued right into the fan-favorite “Rebellion”.  Using “Wake Up” as the closing song was the right choice.  This is the song that got them into the public consciousness, as most people heard this song first when it was used as the walk-on song during U2’s 2005 “Vertigo Tour”.

I’m not sure whether Arcade Fire will be big as Coldplay, or Kings of Leon, but they don’t have.  They proved last night they belong in the same room as other titans of rock.


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