Archive for the 'arcade fire' Category

Video: Much improved version of Arcade Fire playing Still Ill at the MEN Arena

At the Arcade Fire gig at the MEN Arena on Saturday I took a video of them playing The Smiths’ Still Ill and posted it on YouTube the same night. It got linked to by all manner of blogs, including Stereogum, but the sound and video quality were piss poor to say the least, although this didn’t stop it racking up nearly 3,000 views in just a five days.

I found a decent quality mp3 of the song and, using all sorts of technical jiggery-pokery that I barely understand, I somehow managed to create this much improved version of the video. Enjoy.

Posted by The Ledge on 2nd November 2007 at 12:58 am | comments (4)
File under arcade fire,MEN Arena,the smiths,video,youtube.

Gig Review: Arcade Fire, MEN Arena, Manchester, October 27, 2007

The Arcade Fire setlist, Manchester, October 27 2007On a good night, the Arcade Fire live are the sound of unmitigated joy. Last night, the Arcade Fire had a good night. I hate the arena, but for 90 minutes on a gloomy Saturday night, the Arcade Fire made the Manchester Evening News Arena the best venue in Manchester, if not the world. From the opening notes of “Black Mirror,” to the final, electrifying moments of “Wake Up, ” even though the crowd around me were somewhat subdued, we just knew that the Arcade Fire were on form, and it was a form that nobody else on earth can match.

Watching the Arcade Fire when they play like they did last night is one of the biggest pleasures life holds. On stage, they are a wall of energy, spitting all their angst and anger at the world, all their fear and insecurities out through their instruments, but it comes out as celebratory. They seem to need to be on stage, venting through their music, but the smiles on their faces, the energy and the enthusiasm that radiates from the stage could bring a great swell of exultation to anyone.

It only took as much as the second song, “Keep the Car Running,” to get me bouncing, completely enraptured and convinced this would be one of the gigs of 2007. Throughout the gig I was amazed at the lack of cheer radiating from the people around me because the band themselves could not have been any more dedicated and involved in their own performance. Watching them was completely mesmerising. Regine in particular had a giant smile on her face, and she kept coming out towards our side of the stage, smiling, shouting the lyrics and encouraging us to dance.

Arcade Fire @ MEN Arena, ManchesterCertainly one of the highlights of the set included “Haiti” with her vocals, which gets better every time I see it live and had some of the maddest drumming ever to grace a stage. Her Funeral duo of lead vocals bookended a rare outing for “I’m Sleeping In A Submarine” from their debut EP. “In the Backseat,” which we haven’t seen live since 2005, was absolutely flawless and completely mesmerising. She has toned down her self-conscious dancing since we first saw them, and tonight contented herself with the odd arm gesture, waving a tambourine around (when she wasn’t playing one of four or five other instruments or singing), and exhorting the crowd towards where we were standing to sing and clap along, like a tiny ball of candy-coated flame.

She had rivals for her level of energy though as Will Butler was moving around so fast he was practically a blur throughout the gig, whether smashing a drum like his life depended on it, pounding away on the keyboards or holding a guitar. Win Butler, for his part, was singing like he’d die if he didn’t, but in between songs he was chatty and all warm smiles, exuding pleasure at being on stage and grateful to the 14,000 members of the audience for being part of what he said was the Arcade Fire’s biggest indoor gig to date.

After Regine’s chilling moment, “Windowsill” briefly brought the tone back to celebratory, despite its somewhat dark theme. It’s like getting the negatives out is in itself the ultimate expression of hope to this band, and watching them you can’t help but become part of it. “Ocean of Noise” positively gave me chills, and by the time they reached “Tunnels” I think I had reached nirvana, jumping up and down and singing along. The Arcade Fire on stage in Manchester, October 2007“The Well and the Lighthouse” was fantastic but then they did a cover of “Still Ill” in honour of the Smiths inspiring Win Butler, and his health problems over the last year. It was not the best cover version I’ve ever heard, in fact it was slightly shambolic, but you’d be hard pressed to match them for intensity and intent.

The final two tracks of the main set, “Power Out” which segued into “Rebellion (Lies)” prompted some serious dancing as the band looked ready to explode as they thrashed away on their instruments, barely disappearing before the encore of “Intervention” and “Wake Up,” which I still consider the best live song in the history of music – tonight’s rendition not disappointing at all – before disappearing frighteningly early, leaving us panting for more and hoping the next album is not another 2 years away.

I dread arena tours. I dread seeing bands in venues this size and I always worry about the atmosphere and the view. While the crowd were wishy-washy and uninvolved where we were stood, the Arcade Fire are a band that can make up for a lacklustre crowd with their own enjoyment of the performance and this alone carried them through the gig tonight, appreciative and wonderous at their ability to vent their demons through their instruments and come away feeling drunk with the power of their own expression. It is something which only the very hard-hearted could watch and not find moving and uplifting, and it reinforced my assertion that nobody, past or present, can surpass the Arcade Fire on a night like this.

The Arcade Fire – I’m Sleeping in a Submarine
The Arcade Fire – In the Backseat

Video – The Arcade Fire perform “Still Ill” in Manchester

Posted by JustHipper on 28th October 2007 at 12:33 pm | comments (29)
File under arcade fire,Gig Reviews,manchester gigs,Reviews.