Clutching the Bumper of the Arcade Fire Bandwagon
In the month since my last post, I've been catching up on culture. Since my wife and I had our second son last year, we've been a little behind in all things entertainment-related, and between the TV season ending and our boys sleeping through the night, are just now attending to the backlog. Case in point: we just saw Dark Knight for the first time, we just finished the second season of Arrested Development, and I'm just now getting into a little band called Arcade Fire.
When I'm up with my son on the couch at night, I can't watch normal TV because I will never go to sleep. Thus I started TiVo-ing "television's longest-running concert music program", Austin City Limits, with the intention of the PBS-powered uninterrupted music lulling me to sleep. When I was a kid the show was a weird mainstay in the TV listings, and almost always had country artists, but now is surprisingly diverse and often quite indie-focused. While the show went through its regular scheduled programs, it worked in putting me to sleep. Then came the Arcade Fire episode.
I've always known of Arcade Fire, heard some of their music, appreciated their impact on the indie music scene, and respected their elevation of Canada as a talented musical community. Now, however, I have just really got into them, in no small part thanks to the powerful Where the Wild Things Are trailer, but mostly because of their intense performance on ACL (as the cool kids seem to call it). If you've never seen them live, try to imagine ten people on stage switching places with a hundred different instruments (including a pipe organ, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, and a car alarm), literally beating the music out of them and the whole time playing their hearts out. PBS has only one of the performances online, in really low quality, and it's one of the tamer ones from the show, but it will give you a small taste.
The following is recommended watching for anyone who, like me, is desperately trying to clutch the bumper of the Arcade Fire bandwagon, which has already had a few years head start, but all the while enjoying the pursuit.
- The entire band together in an elevator playing Neon Bible, utilizing ripped magazines and the roof for percussion:
- A live performance of Wake Up with David Bowie, which the YouTube user publishes with the disclaimer "If you don't cry watching this, you are dead inside":
- A fan-edited music video for My Body Is A Cage using clips from a spaghetti-western classic (thanks for this one, Peter):
- Lastly, an interactive music video, also for Neon Bible, that you need to point and click on to make come alive.