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Arcade Fire – Everything Now + Live at Lollapalooza 2017 (Pre-Infinite Content Tour)

September 6, 2017

When Arcade Fire hit the scene with their debut Funeral in 2004 I was intrigued, but not sold. With each subsequent album, they hooked me a bit more until 2013’s Reflektor – that sealed the deal – I was now a fan.

I missed the Reflektor tour, but I was not too disappointed. How could an artsy band like Arcade Fire successfully pull off an arena show? I recently saw Arcade Fire at Lollapalooza and they are a legitimate festival headliner, so I think they must be just fine as an arena act.

Everything Now takes the art dance pop of Reflektor up a notch. This is pure pop with a dash of the subversive. It reminds me of the Talking Heads at their prime: an indie-art-rock band that is not afraid of writing a catchy song – even creating a hit record.  The band collaborated with Daft Punk’s Thomas Bamgalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey to pour a little sugar on the proceedings.

The album opens with a foreshadowing intro: “Everything_Now (continued).” That song segues into the single “Everything Now” which sounds like a muscular Abba song with some world music spice added to the mix. Arcade Fire opened their Lollapalooza set with this one-two punch. It is a serious show of confidence and evidence of the legitimacy of their pop credentials – they ignited their live show with new music. The crowd loved it.

“Signs of Life” is an art-funk in the grand tradition of the Talking Heads.  I can’t help the continued Heads comparisons – they have so much in common: artsy, pop, a real band (i.e., consistent lineup) with a charismatic oddball front man (Win Butler), a strong female foil (Régine Chassagne) and most of all: funky as hell.

“Creature Comforts” is lush electronica coopted into an arena anthem.

“Peter Pan” opens with an old school reggae feel and evolves into a more contemporary pop feel without losing that underlying reggae beat.

“Chemistry” merges old time rock and roll with a bit of ska and little 80s new wave.

“Infinite Content” is a punk amphetamine that transitions into a lugubrious cowpoke ballad of the same song renamed “Infinite_Content.”

“Electric Blue” has a nice Tom Tom Club sounding (sorry more Heads comparisons) featuring Régine Chassagne on vocals.  In concert, Régine Chassagne is essential.  She creates a great contrast both musically and visually with her femininity.

“Good God Damn” has a Some Girls/Emotional Rescue era disco-Stones feel in both sound and lyrics.

“Put Your Money On Me” cops Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer’s” bass line and turns it into an alt-rock sermon.

“We Don’t Deserve Love” has a slow country ballad groove (assuming a hipster indie rock ban was doing the twangin’).  It has heartbreaking lyrics too.

“Everything Now (continued)” is coda of the opening tune.

As a live act, Arcade Fire are visually spectacular without being gimmicky.  They are tight and well rehearsed, yet spontaneous.  They played songs off all their albums – with a heavy dose from Everything Now.  A playlist based on the Lollapalooza set and a YouTube video of the Lollapalooza show are below.

As part of their encore, they mixed one of their first hits, “Wake Up,” with John Lennon’s “Mind Games” and a sprinkle of Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”  It was an amazing finale.  There is nothing better than a well thought out and executed cover.  I highly recommend that if Arcade Fire comes anywhere near your town this fall with their Pre-Infinite Content tour – you should check them out.



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