Friday, September 21, 2007

arcade fire @ the hollywood bowl.

Warning: clichéd statement ahead.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last four years, you know how cool the Arcade Fire is.

I feel better. Sometimes you just have to go for the easy opening.

Despite how excited I was to see Arcade Fire for the first time (at one point I came very close to going to Denmark to catch a show.) I wasn’t exactly overflowing with joy with the venue. The Hollywood Bowl is a historic landmark. It’s also a historic landmark that requires expensive stack parking, a long hike up a hill (and I’m a runner!) and sitting so far away from the stage you could realistically could make it back to your car with the same amount of effort it would take to orchestrate a stage dive.1 I have childhood memories of falling asleep on a bench to the never-ending sounds of Dionne Warwick. Spaceland and The Troubadour are old friends… the Hollywood Bowl? It’s that weird aunt you see once every seven years who smells like cat and, even after puberty has long since come and gone, still insists you’ve grown.

But when KCRW gives you free tickets to The Arcade fire… who's earworm chorus of "lies" three years later you still can't out of your head... well, no isn't an option.2

KCRW takes care of its listeners. Our noses weren't bleeding, but were still half way back. Right in front of several large television screens. The experience of watching a show through a television screen is a bit deflating. While you're sure that somewhere on stage there are in fact ten very energetic musicians playing, it's hard to tell if they're playing for the cast of The Office, who were put on the pit guest list, or for you, the average blogger.

Thankfully the Arcade Fire is so good these thoughts only occupied my attention for the first song. Theirs is a show of pure joy, a celebration of sound and a study in controlled chaos. (One band member's solo goal is to play percussion on anything within reach. In earlier shows, some band members would wear helmets.) For Win Butler and his team, every song is played with the same energy and intensity as the final song of the evening. The Bowl's acoustics were perfect for the onstage organ, which added an intense haunting presence to Arcade Fire's ever present swelling choruses. If it doesn't make the hair on your arms stand on end, they haven't done their job.

The night ended with several sing-a-longs, including the ubiquitous "Lies" chorus. While a tiny bit disappointed the size of the Bowl prevented the Arcade Fire from doing their infamous equalitarian after show, I couldn't help but smile. I just watched a ragtag bunch of French Canadians ooh, ahh, coo, skip and dance through one of the most well played, fun, and down right cool sets I've seen in a long time. Suddenly, the walk back to my car didn't seem quite so long.


1. Having said that, I really want someone to stage dive. Preferably on John Philip Sousa night.

2.Join KCRW. With this concert alone my fifty dollar membership has already payed itself off. With my winnings last year I finished $150 dollars ahead. "KCRW membership. It's just good economy."


mp3: "Five Years (David Bowie cover)" by Arcade Fire

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

… the Hollywood Bowl? It’s that weird aunt you see once every seven years who smells like cat and, even after puberty has long since come and gone, still insists you’ve grown.

I would be so lost without this blog, guys.

- Lea