Arcade Fire is a crazy band to watch. In fact, just listening to them doesn't really do it justice. Their soaring, wall-o-sound, soccer-chant-laced music is much better seen in addition to heard. They are a frenetic onstage presence. There's like 50 members of the band (not really there are seven core members) and a seemingly infinite combination of musical expertise that spends the show hopping from seat to seat. Drummer moves to keyboard, keyboard moves to drums, violinist moves to keyboard--and round and round they go. It's a blast to watch and very much a product of our time. Meaning Arcade Fire is as to the early 2010s as the Talking Heads were to the '80s and Smashing Pumpkins was to the '90s. This is sountrack-to-your-life kind of stuff.
And the Talking Heads' comparison is probably most apt. Big band? Check. Distinctive sound? Check. High-level musician ship? Check. Like the Talking Heads, the band also extends its art into the visual realm. The show was punctuated by interesting and compelling films, directed and edited by the band, shown above the seizure inducing performance below. (In a good way, like Pokéman).
Frontman Win Butler has Utah roots. His grandfather lived in Sandy while Butler was growing up and he clearly likes playing for what is in many ways a home crowd. Utah loves bands like Arcade Fire. Easy, mildly angsty lyrics, nothing controversial really. Like Howard Jones and the Indigo Girls before them, Arcade Fire will always have an enthusiastic crowd here in Utan long after their nadir. (Although their song "Working for the Church" has interesting overtones for a show performed in Utah County. I actually attended the show with an old high school friend who, these days, is an LDS Bishop. In reaction, he commented that he tries really hard to balance his church life, home life and, apparently, going-to-rock-concerts-with-his-old-high-school-friends life.)
And, of course, all of this has been said about Arcade Fire. They are a hard-working band who approach their performances like high art and should be on your band bucket list next time they come to town.