Monday, March 19, 2007

The Arcade Fire, Brixton Academy 2007

Somewhere behind the blurry neon lights in this picture stands one of the most hyped and lauded bands of the moment, giving it their all at Brixton Academy on the last London date of their current tour last Saturday. As a relatively recent convert to Arcade Fire, my introduction to them - from a friend's enthusiastic recommendation a few months ago, to the last minute purchase on ebay of a ticket to see them live - has been something of a whirlwind experience. The new album, Neon Bible, was released a couple of weeks ago, and I had only had a chance to listen to it once on a decent stereo before the gig, but that was sufficient to thoroughly whet my appetite. Arcade Fire is a band that really should be seen live to be fully appreciated. The sheer scale of them (8 members, including a 6'5” lead singer) made an immediate impact, as they stormed onto the stage, sporting an impressive array of instruments, and a collective attitude that seemed to infect and inflame an already excitable audience. Then comes the noise... The Independent recently described their sound as “an aural assault”, and as I can't think of an adequate summary of my own, I have decided to run with this theory. Hijacking an eclectic assortment of musical influences - then perverting, distorting and entirely reinventing them - these aggressively passionate musicians have created a unique sound that defies expectation. As a willing victim of this auditory onslaught, I was compelled to jump up and down in fevered appreciation of my re-education, so much so that my shins are still throbbing two days later.

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