Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem Live at Thanksgiving Point

Guest Show Review
So I wasn’t really happy to be at the LCD Soundsystems/Arcade Fire concert. I was excited to see them play, but I was none too thrilled with the way I got there. Through a combination of misunderstanding, accident, and laziness, I purchased my ticket online from ticketmaster. That means on top of my $36 dollar entrance fee, I was charged a $9 service fee, another $4 US fee of some sort, and an additional $2 to be able to print my ticket! All in all I paid around $52, only to find out that I could have bought a ticket at the door for $36. So I was there, but I wasn’t too happy about it. Luckily we arrived just as LCD was beginning their set so I didn’t have much time to stew. And I know this is probably sacrilege, at least it was to the majority of the audience, but I was primarily there to see LCD, and The Arcade Fire were a bonus. Anyways, LCD began…

Jumping ahead, about three quarters of the way through The Arcade Fire’s set they played “My Body is a Cage”, with Win Butler singing “My body is a cage, that keeps me from dancing with the one I love, but my mind holds the key.” I’m sure these lyrics resonate with many risk averse people who just can’t bring themselves to drop all pretenses and dance. In fact it wasn’t long ago that I had such an aversion, skeptically scanning a dancing concert crowd, wondering if I was missing something, or if they were just more easily duped into having fun than I was. Either way, if James Murphy ever lamented in this way, he found the key long ago. I didn’t expect Murphy’s drums and sound loops to translate as well as they did on stage, but live, his songs are infused with a vitality that is lacking from the already energetic album versions. And even though dance music is generally most at home in a dark, strobe lit room, Murphy’s songs felt as if they were meant for the outdoor stage at thanksgiving point. His voice had a freedom that isn’t as present on the albums. And the atmosphere and energy of live instruments playing dance rock held the key for most of the crowd to dance with the one they loved, or whoever was standing next to them.

As LCD finished with one of my favorites, “New York, I Love You…” I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the show, and how quickly I had forgotten about the $52 I had just shelled out. I thought to myself that there was no way The Arcade Fire was going to top them. They didn’t, but they came close.

The Arcade Fire emerged. Four small circular screens played different clips of old 70’s religious sermons or infomercials. And there they were, dressed like some gothic troupe from the hills of Austria, ready to play nearly every song into a frenzy. And they did. Cameras placed in various spots on stage projected different members of the band on the four circular screens. By design the images were grainy and often black and white, giving the whole band an appearance of a gothic Bible belt revival. It was an odd presentation, especially with Win’s wife Regine Chasagne creepily peering into the crowd as if she were possessed (kinda freaked me out). Each of the ten members rearranged themselves throughout the set, playing different instruments and livening up their stage presence. The sound was typical for an outdoor venue, with much of the instrumentation getting lost in the mix, but The Arcade Fire effectively played their songs into their hallmark crescendo, and the crowd followed. And although there is much to be said for the intimate nature of many indie shows, of which this wasn’t one, there is also much to be said for a large crowd resonating the energy of a band on stage.

Michael Scott once said that presents were great because they were an opportunity to tell someone you like them a certain amount of dollars worth. I can now say that although I wasn’t initially happy with spending $52 dollars on a concert, I left the show liking it at least $52 dollars worth. Though I still would have preferred to have only paid $36.

-Spruce Lee

1 comment:

Kirk said...

Great review! AF is the band of the decade (to me), but I couldn't convince myself to pay that much money. I'm glad it turned out all good.