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The Arcade Fire / Wolf Parade

The Arcade Fire / Wolf Parade: live in Torontolive in Toronto (2005)
Merge Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: LevitateMeLevitateMe
(others by this writer | submit your own)

A couple months ago the Arcade Fire were going to be performing on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," and it was mentioned in the "Bands On TV" list for that week on this site. There were a few comments made regarding the band. I responded with something like "they're okay, maybe even good, but they'r.


A couple months ago the Arcade Fire were going to be performing on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," and it was mentioned in the "Bands On TV" list for that week on this site. There were a few comments made regarding the band. I responded with something like "they're okay, maybe even good, but they're not as amazing as everyone says they are." Someone replied with simply: "you wouldn't say that if you saw them live." Sir, oh how right you were.

I wanted to get there two hours early so I could get a good seat, but there was already quite a long line at that time. This show was sold out. [Ed.'s Note: How sold out was it?] It was so sold out that even the scalpers were looking for tickets. I paid $20 for mine, but in line I heard them going for prices ranging from $125 to over $200. The show was held at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. I had never been there before and rumors that it contained actual seats were worrisome. Those rumors turned out to be true as it was a theatre with regular theatre seating and a balcony. "What the fuck?" was my initial reaction, but it ended up not making a difference to me. I had a fairly good seat, third row on the aisle of the left section, with a great view of the stage. That stage was cluttered with more instruments than I've ever seen at a show. After a short wait the lights dimmed and the show began.

The first band up was Final Fantasy, described on their official website as being "the solo violin project of Owen Pallett. The songs are about ghosts, romance, cooking, fantasy fiction and guilt." That name might sound familiar as he is also one of the violin players in the Arcade Fire. He was joined by one other musician, "Steph," with more to come later. I know it sounds bad, but it actually wasn't. Owen stood up front and sang and played his violin while "Steph" was hidden behind all of the Arcade Fire's instruments. I only saw her hand when she raised it after first being introduced. The music was very creative and original, with the violin being manipulated in various ways by Owen. I was very impressed with how he screamed into it, similar to the move Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock does when he screams into his guitar pickups. He had a great stage presence and was also very funny. Aside from Mr. Pallet, there were elementary school-like overhead projections of dinosaurs and various other things on a screen behind him, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The laughter got so loud at one point that Owen had to stop and ask what was so funny. Someone said "dinosaurs kissing other dinosaurs." The humor continued when, before playing a song which he said was about "casting magic," he said that he thought it was stupid that people write songs about sex. "They're like 'do me baby,' but some people have never had sex. You know because they spend all their time playing magic cards." Another song was called "This Is The Dream Of Win And Regine," named after the Arcade Fire's front-couple. Owen was joined by the Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara on drums for the last two songs and Regine Chassagne on a single drum and vocals for the last song. That song was a cover of Mariah Carey's "Fantasy." I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. The material may have been a little weak, but Owen Pallet lights up the stage.

This was a very well-organized show, and the next band, Wolf Parade, took the stage only about ten minutes after Final Fantasy left. The band consisted of four members, playing guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard respectively. They played fairly generic indie rock, but it was fun and danceable. About two songs in people started to creep down from their seats and move to the front of the stage. Within thirty seconds front row seats were meaningless as those people now had four rows standing in front of them. I was one of the lucky ones and got a nice spot right up front. Once Wolf Parade finished playing the same song about ten times in a row they cleared the stage and the Arcade Fire began to set up.

The excitement was palpable. Everyone knew that what we were about to see was going to be amazing, but it was so much more than we could have ever expected. All eight members of the Arcade Fire gathered on the stage and orchestral warm-up noises began as the lights went down. They opened with a raucous version of (my favorite) "Laika." Richard Reed Parry and Tim Kingsbury were going crazy, donning crash helmets and drumming on everything in sight (including each other). The string section creaked along with Win Butler's vocals while the drums boomed, all complemented by thick bass and subtle accordion. The crowd was singing along just as loud as the band. Next they played an old song, "No Cars Go," and a new song, "Intervention," both inciting the crowd into a frenzy with their catchiness and fast tempos. Regine was mesmerizing, leading the way on "Haiti," and she finished the song by doing a lovely robot dance. They followed with another old song and almost all of Funeral. Their live sound is more like traditional rock, as the guitars, bass, and drums overpower the violins, cello, and miscellaneous instruments, but don't drown them out completely. The tempo is a lot faster than on their recordings as well. Some highlights of the show were more playing on the parts of Richard and Tim on "Rebellion (Lies)." Tim put on Richard's glasses and every time the chorus came up ("underneath the covers...") he'd cover Richard's head with a sheet. Another was Win's stage dive, guitar in tow, after striking the final chord of "Power Out" before going into an extended outro. Regine played the drums on all of the fast songs, including an awesome version of "Tunnels" to finish the set. Their energy was insane. They played with passion and skill the likes of which I've never seen before. They were just amazing, that's all you can say. Sounds good so far? Well, the fun was only beginning...

They came back on stage to play the encore. We all knew it was going to be "Wake Up." The orchestral warm-up noises started again, but then suddenly stopped. Win looked down at the audience and said "who wants to sing?" He started pulling audience members (including me) onto the stage. Richard came up behind me and said "yo, check it out. You're gonna play these" and handed me some drum sticks. At least twenty members of the crowd were on stage all together. We sang along to the chorus and those who had drumsticks played them along with the beat. One guy even got to play Win's guitar. It was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced at a show. All of these people screaming their lungs out to the same song, the band and the fans melding together. It was awesome. After the song was finished I got a hug from Regine. I told her that this was the best show that I had ever seen. And I sincerely meant it.

Set List:

  • Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
  • No Cars Go
  • Haiti
  • Intervention
  • Old Flame
  • Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
  • Une Annee Sans Lumiere
  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  • Rebellion (Lies)
  • Crown Of Love
  • Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
  • Wake Up

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (August 25, 2005)

I know its really late but its Richie and Will who hit stuff during Laika, not Tim. He plays bass. PS: Wolf Parade are incredible

Anonymous (May 5, 2005)

ooops, sorry! Also, I do prefer arcade fire to animal collective but I haven't seen animal collective live.

LevitateMe (May 5, 2005)

ummmmmmmmm. sigggggggggh

I was talking about Animal Collective

Anonymous (May 5, 2005)

sighn - you just don't get it do you? (not wolf parade, my point)

LevitateMe (May 4, 2005)

I've heard both albums and seen both bands and I'd say Arcade Fire wins...by a lot.

Anonymous (May 4, 2005)

when the fuck is wolf parade releasing a full length?! i fucking want one. now.

also: animal collective edges arcade fire in both album of 2004 and live show, to me.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

Umm.....see you wrote an entire review - so people had heard your opinion dillweed! I wrote a comment in response, not asking you to reaffirm your opinion only to present my own. You then proceeded to restate your opinon that obviously we'd heard given the above mentioned fact that you wrote an entire article about it. HENCE YOUR post was redundant not mine. Therefore, you should shut the fuck up! Fuck, I'm starting to hate arcade fire if their fans are all a bunch of idiots like you

LevitateMe (May 3, 2005)

then shut the fuck up

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

no shit sherlock - I gathered that from your review

LevitateMe (May 3, 2005)

I thought they sucked

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

oh just the world needs another article praising the arcade fire, wow!

But knocking wolf parade? The "their songs sound the same" is the most tired and unimaginative critique anyone can make about another band. Replace "wolf parade" with "arcade fire", "final fantasy" or any other band and it would still be true. I know tastes are subjective but personally I find wolf parade to be making some of the most original and just plain good music out there. I like Arcade Fire too but the last thing they need is someone else to kiss their ass. Oh well, you'd be a good writer for rolling stone.

Anonymous (May 3, 2005)

The Arcade Fire are SO much better than the Walkmen. I caught the end of their set at Coachella and it was amazing. I seriously hate whoever scheduled them and Gang of Four at the same time and made everyone have to choose.

boba_fett (May 2, 2005)

anybody that payed 125 - 200 for a ticket to a show that was not the beatles is dumb.

who in the crap of fuck would pay that kind of cash to see a joe blow band? they arent even famous rock stars or anything... just an indie band that you can wait and see for 10 bucks when they come around again in a month. christ.

Anonymous (May 2, 2005)

"i had tickets to see them in atlanta and then i came down with strep throat. i was too much of a pussy to go, and now i want to kill my self."

I had tickets to see them in Boston and came down with the flu but I still went. Definitely worth it, even though I had to drive through a unforecasted blizzard on the way back.

boldredletters (May 2, 2005)

You really don't do Wolf Parade justice. I can see them being one of the next big things, for good reason, too.

Anonymous (May 2, 2005)

They're back in the US in September. Can't wait.

pierrebouvier (May 1, 2005)

the show was out of control, they are very good, and living up to the hype....

LevitateMe (May 1, 2005)

oh, and that's the "Wake Up" performance with everyone on stage by the way

LevitateMe (May 1, 2005)

here's another video, this one has sound too

http://s38.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3NXAEOSXX0BA31D12DLW9B3 9PL

Anonymous (May 1, 2005)

I think that the anti-flag song on that site is their best. Pancake!

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

Live recording of "Wake Up" at
http://www.pancakemountain.com/arcadef.html
(feat. the crowd on stage)

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

The review is fairly good. Worth being written. Nonetheless, Arcade Fire's pop sound is a bit rich for my blood.
They're just one of those bands that shouldn't be reviewed by the people that love them or the people that hate them. They're just so caught in the thickness of the media tilt.

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

my favorite band in the world right now, and even better live....

this from someone who's other favorite show experiences are no means no, dillinger escape plan, propagandhi, q and not u, dismemberment plan, godspeed you black emperor,the constantines, hot hot heat, interpol, modest mouse, etc...

they are just that good

Anonymous (April 30, 2005)

my favorite band in the world right now, and even better live....

this from someone who's other favorite show experiences are no means no, dillinger escape plan, propagandhi, q and not u, dismemberment plan, godspeed you black emperor,the constantines, hot hot heat, interpol, modest mouse, etc...

they are just that good

sethcohen (April 30, 2005)

Wouldn't The Rat be a contender for indie rock single of the year, and Bows and Arrows be the album of the year?

Both good, but Arcade Fire is better

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

they suck

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

Once every two months I listen to the album again, to see if I'll finally "get" it.

Still don't.

Like one of the other posters said, "to each his own."

ubershep (April 29, 2005)

"i can't believe nobody's posted any arcade fire hate yet... well, you're not gonna get it from me. funeral was indie album of the 2004."

That goes to the Walkmen and their mighty Rat.

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

Thanks for this review, now I'm really looking forward to seeing them live

sweetsugarpezz (April 29, 2005)

i had tickets to see them in atlanta and then i came down with strep throat. i was too much of a pussy to go, and now i want to kill my self.

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

UH! i wanna see these guys so bad!

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

i want to see arcade fire again now. dangit.

-greyicewater

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

i don't get it. i listened to the cd and nothing. to each their own i guess.

Jet (April 29, 2005)

Freaki.

Jet (April 29, 2005)

I said that exact same thing, minus the... "friggin" when the set ended. Let's make love.

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

It was like a freakin' religious experience. =)

Jet (April 29, 2005)

This had to be the greatest show I've ever been to, and I've seen Broken Social Scene, Ted Leo and the Weakerthans/Constantines since the winter season. Namedropping aside, it was such a cool, surreal experience. The Music Hall reminded me of the Elgin Theatre, it was so huge but the band could still talk to the crowd. I was front and centre against the stage for Wolf Parade and the Arcade Fire and Christ... Let's just say when the Arcade Fire set began and suddenly there were about 8 or 9 members on stage with some guy wearing a motorcycle helmet banging the stage monitors with drum sticks... It was like, Broken Social What?

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

Greatest Show On Earth!
www.bangupjob.blogspot.com

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

I was in Montreal on Sunday, also entirely sold out and no, the fans on stage things seems like a one time thing... Damn :(

MarkieStabone (April 29, 2005)

i can't believe nobody's posted any arcade fire hate yet... well, you're not gonna get it from me. funeral was indie album of the 2004.

SethCohen (April 29, 2005)

good review. good band. i guess the "this is the dream of win and regine" is a play also on dntel's "this is the dream of evan and chan"

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

When they came to sweden a month ago it was sold out even before the tickets were released.

ElVaquero (April 29, 2005)

I think half of the songs on Funeral are absolutely fantastic. And the other half aren't so much.

LevitateMe (April 29, 2005)

did they bring everyone on stage in montreal too? or was that just a one time deal.

Anonymous (April 29, 2005)

I caught their Saturday show in Montreal, and wow. When this man gives five stars, he fucking means five stars. Possibly the greatest show I've ever been to. I'm still kinda dancing.

Rob.

LevitateMe (April 29, 2005)

If anyone wants to see a short video clip (no audio) of the "Wake Up" performance you can download it here: http://s48.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3SOSN0WTA1R582Z923PB719658

ubershep (April 29, 2005)

Funeral was a good album, but not nearly as good as the hype surrounding it. I like it, but was ultimately wholly disappointed.

LevitateMe (April 29, 2005)

thanks for the note, whoever edited this

kirbypuckett (April 29, 2005)

Pitchfork called...

No but seriously, I'm on the Arcade Fire hype wagon.

I cannot stop listening to Funeral, it's deserving of every overwhelming positive review it receives.

- Kirby

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