Arcade Fire Rocks the Island

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No, this has nothing to do with hate crimes, and yes, it happened several days ago. But sometimes things slip through the cracks, and Bwog newbie Beth Gordon says it’s never too late to hear about this band.

kkI’ve been told that if Queens and the Bronx took a shit, it would be Randall’s Island. Nevertheless, Arcade Fire’s last show in New York City for the next couple years was enough to make it worth the trek this Saturday. I found my way to the Island around six, listening to Les Savy Fav from the walkway to the venue. By the time they searched my bag and scanned my ticket, Blonde Redhead had begun their set. I haven’t heard much of Blonde Redhead, so I decided to walk around, eat funnel cake and push my way into the middle of the crowd. I had to be prepared for LCD Soundsystem.

LCD Soundsytsem was fantastic. They played songs mostly from their newest album, Sound of Silver (2007). The 25,000 people who crossed the Triborough Bridge packed as close to the stage as possible to see James Murphy & Co. play triumphantly. Members of Arcade Fire joined them onstage for a few songs; Murphy (vocals for LCD) declared he had to tire them out so they could “have an edge” over the headliner. Their electronica/dance/pop sound was even better live than the recorded version—the masses jumping up and down were certainly feeling it. They ended the set with the song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which was a bit slower than the previous songs, but the perfect exit for the native New York band and the New York audience.

Then we waited, still packed together on the asphalt, for Arcade Fire. The beginning of their set began with black and white videos (toy monkeys playing symbols, a black female jazz singer) on the jumbotron screens. Then the Canadians came onstage with the Neon Bible (2007) emblem (in red neon) on the red curtain behind them—all very dramatic, but appropriately so. They started with “Black Mirror,” the first track on their newest album. Throughout the rest of the set, they hit the right balance between Neon Bible and Funeral, their previous album. It almost turned into a cut-off jeans and American Apparel t-shirt dance party. Every song was epic—they sounded so definite, the chorus of the sweating band members, the violins, and operatic production. Most people in the audience sang along with Win Butler (vocals, guitar). Régine Chassagne (vocals, keyboard, accordion), Butler’s wife, looked angry while singing and then adorably coy when turning away from the microphone.

Arcade Fire’s last song, “Rebellion” was cathartic. The “ooo”-ing throughout, somewhere between a chant and a moan, caught everyone in a trance of awe and emotion. Instead of clapping and whistling to bring them back for an encore, the audience started humming or whistling the tune of the last song. Then the encore ended on “Wake Up”—possibly one of the better-known Arcade songs, which evoked pure heartache and reverence. Apparently they went through the audience with acoustic guitars for a second encore, covering the Violent Femmes song “Kiss Off,” even as people had begun filing out to the one pedestrian exit and walking in a herd across the Bridge.

The stop-and-go pedestrian traffic back to Manhattan couldn’t sour that night.

Picture shamefully stolen from BrooklynVegan.



  1. too late.  

    why the hell is BWOG posting articles about bands over the current issues on campus. get with it.

    • hey!  

      I care about bands. I think many people at Columbia care about bands and actually leave this little patch of green to see them play.

      If you're referring to the dead end news story that is Jena 6: Columbia Edition, you can always jerk off to the comment section in the below post until tomorrow morning when there will be 10 new posts about strictly "campus" news you can obsess over. Hey, you may still even be in Butler procrastinating on that paper of yours when the next "campus" news goes up! Congratulations! I'll be sleeping and dreaming about getting fucked up at the next concert I attend that you *won't* be at. Because you heard about a really sweet campus party at Pike....on Bwog.

      Not to mention that it's ARCADE FIRE we're talking about.

  2. lester bangs

    above is a fine example of why columbians should never write music reviews.

  3. been there done that  

    bwog chickidee coulda done much better with this report. Yeah it was a great show buuuuut this artcle doesn't cut it. And stfu "cutoff shorts and american apparel" I'm so sick of that crap, especially when not everyone there sported that style. And Win Butler prolly alsolied about there being 25,000 people, it def did not look like that much...but who knows

  4. uhhh  

    Should not have walked away from Blonde Redhead. Never walk away from a cute Japanese girl gyrating on stage.

  5. DHI  

    Wilson goddamn Tigers.

  6. i was there  

    working the food stands, and then left to watch Arcade Fire play. It was amazingly great. although there seemed to be quite a few flying plates and bottles during "Wake Up"

  7. i was there  

    LCD Soundsystem was fucking awesome. Arcade Fire sounded good, but their sound didn't translate so well to such a large show. Seeing them at Judson Church down on Washington Square Park last year (a 200-300 person show) was much more intimate and, in my opinion, was a much better Arcade Fire show.

    But still, LCD.

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