On The Download: Arcade Fire Rocks The Shrine Into Flames

Oftentimes, when a band takes the stage at a concert, the crowd will jump to their feet in excitement over seeing their idols in person, but rarely will the audience stay on their feet for the entire concert. Welcome to the world of rock gods Arcade Fire where the audience knows every lyric to their songs and dances joyously throughout the show. Arcade Fire is one of the hottest touring acts around and after seeing them for the first time on October 8, 2010 at the gorgeous Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, I can certainly see why.

Arcade Fire is on tour promoting their third (and to date, most critically acclaimed) album, “The Suburbs,” which was released on August 2, and you’d think that the audience had spent the last two months memorizing each lyric just to join in on this show. Everyone sang along with precision to songs new and old (my fiancée and I included!). We had all the “Heys” down to a tee for “No Cars Go” and we sang our hearts out to the chorus of “Rebellion (Lies)” with fervent gusto. The lines, “Every time you close your eyes/Lies, lies!” never sounded so mighty as they did that night that they reverberated through the halls of the Shrine.

The talent and girth of the band itself is just as impressive as their arena rock music. The band is made up of seven members including lead vocalist Win Butler, his wife Regine Chassagne, Richard Reed Parry, William Butler (Win’s brother), Tim Kingsbury, Sarah Neufeld and Jeremy Gara. Each member impressively jumped from instrument to instrument (sometimes during the same song even) throughout the concert. And they all played each instrument with such powerful force you’d think that they were possessed by the shear joy of creating music. At one point two of the band members took turns kicking a tambourine. Their playfulness was infectious.

For the entirety of the performance, Arcade Fire flowed seamlessly from quiet songs like “Modern Man” and “In the Backseat” (one of my favorites) to rollicking crowd pleasers like “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out),” and it all felt smoothly organic to the inspired sound of their music. Interestingly, when the band kicked into “Neighborhood #3,” my ever-astute fiancée pointed out that the majority of the audience had immediately pulled out their cell phones to videotape the red-lit mayhem on stage. After the song was done they subsequently put their cell phones away after having captured the made-for-YouTube moment.

For their kinetic encore, the band blasted the high energy “Wake Up” to the great delight of the crowd. It was such a spirited performance for such an enthralling song that I actually got chills. Their songs are so invigorating in general that they feel like anthems for a generation. With memorably rousing concerts like this, Arcade Fire is one of those rare bands that transcends their already fantastic albums. Yes, they’re that amazing.

To catch a show in your area, check out: www.arcadefire.com

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