Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Arcade Fire live!

| April 28, 2011

Arcade Fire often blurs the lines between a nuts-and-bolts rock show and performance-art extravaganza. Despite an absence of costume changes, a cadre of flashy backup dancers, or life-size props, Win Butler and co. managed to dazzle the senses with ’50s-inspired, drive-in movie visuals and ferocious renderings of fist-pumping anthems from 2004’s Funeral (“Wake Up”) and moody observations from the unlikely Grammy Award winner, The Suburbs (“Ready To Start”).

On the final night of a sold-out three-date stand, the band aimed to please the packed-to-the-rafters arena with all of the hallmarks of an Arcade Fire experience: set changes between every song as members played musical chairs by rearranging positions and swapping instruments; dramatic percussion tapped out with flailing arms and swooping gestures; and ingénue Regine Chassagne’s mix of music-box ballerina and misguided hula dancing.

The raggle-taggle bunch lined the stage in a formation that brought to mind a Saturday morning classic – the “Care Bear Stare” – and, despite not bearing symbols of good cheer on their collective bellies, the group conjured the same warm, fuzzy feelings with a nostalgic, but never lazy “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).” The barrage on the senses continued thanks to a bullhorn-heavy “Month Of May,” while a blood-red sheen casted a pall over “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out).” With a flurry of ribbons and sparkles, Chassagne skillfully penetrated Butler’s wall of stoic grandeur on “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” which sent a buoyed audience home.

Surly bastards (in a good way) The National brilliantly whined, yelped, and brooded through tracks from the band’s irresistible 2010 offering, High Violet, during a short, but permeating opening set. Suited-up frontman Matt Berninger managed to squeeze both hyper-kinetic noise and potential nervous breakdown out of “Terrible Love” and “Afraid Of Everyone” with his voice alone.

— Janine Schaults

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Category: Featured, Live Reviews, Weekly

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