The Music Hall in Toronto, ON
June 12, 2010
Review by: Whitney Pineault
Photos by: Pete Nema
In a surprise last-minute announcement, Montreal's critically acclaimed indie rockers, Arcade Fire, revealed a pair of performances at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall, which took place this past weekend.
The shows served as a warm-up for their upcoming August 14th Olympic Island date, as well as a number of summer festival stops around the globe. The band took the opportunity to debut a handful of songs from their forthcoming highly anticipated album The Suburbs, (set for release on August 3rd in Canada & US) which uncovered a new side of Arcade Fire that Toronto fans thoroughly embraced.
Beginning their second set in as many days, Arcade Fire opened with "Month Of May", one of two brand new tracks the band has made available to preview online. The song has a simple, gritty feel to it that is completely foreign in comparison to the epic, voluminous sound they are known for. Win Butler, handling the majority of lead vocals, led the eight-piece and reflected the song's "the kids are all standing with their arms folded tight" lyric as he stood and sang straight-faced and cross-armed to the Toronto crowd.
But for an audience that is often criticized for remaining reserved and lackluster, a deafening wave of applause ensued for Funeral and Neon Bible favourites "No Cars Go", "Haiti", and "Rebellion (Lies)". It is difficult to describe the incredible ambiance these musicians create when on stage. As soon as a recognizable melody hits your ears, something truly special is ignited. "Wake Up" proved to be a perfect illustration of this. As that familiar guitar intro began, the entire venue lit up. Fans young and old danced, screamed, sang, clapped, and flung their arms in the air to show their affection for the band. It was a wonderful moment.
It can be tricky business for a band to debut new material to a crowd but Arcade Fire held nothing back. They reveled in their surroundings and revealed songs that ranged from the light and simple "Modern Man", to the resonant and haunting "Rococo", possibly the strongest of them all. The old-time piano style of "The Suburbs", which can currently be heard on the band's Myspace, featured Butler singing in perfect falsetto as well as leading on piano. Part of the band's appeal is its member's multi-instrumental abilities; a rotation of sorts takes place on stage as members scramble from one instrument to another. The new material truly accentuated their dexterity as a whole and displayed the continual growth of Arcade Fire's seemingly unbounded talent.
For anyone who was not in attendance this weekend, don't worry; you still have one more chance. Tickets for Arcade Fire's Olympic Island concert on August 14th are available via Ticketmaster, the band's official website, as well as Soundscapes and Rotate This.