Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arcade Fire

I know I just wrote about a concert. But last night we went to another concert. And this one was EPIC and so much better. So let me say this up front: The Decemberists are really good recording artists. But they're just ok when it comes to putting on a live performance.
This is a Decemberist T-Shirt, freshly purchased at their Stubbs show.
It's good to know we're not the only ones that went to both shows...

The Arcade Fire, on the other hand, are amazing! I can't WAIT for them to come back to Austin. And to the same venue, the Backyard. Because now I know how to really enjoy the Arcade Fire show at the Backyard. Here's what we did this time:

We got to the show when the first band was on stage- Schamillion. Both of the opening bands were from "Austin" (aka some other town from Texas, like Odessa). Schamillion was like a Paramore copyband. Meh.

I decided to take a break from the scream-o maroon headed girl and take a bathroom break. The bathrooms at the backyard are kind of cool. Because they have real toilets, as opposed to port-a-potties. The downside is that there are no doors to the bathroom stalls- just shower curtains. And the toilets flush on a timer; like every ten minutes or so. So... the next person sees.... you know.
Russ bringing some beverages while we wait.
After that delight we found our spot on a rock just right of the stage. Russ wandered off to check out the food options and came back with two cannoli's (more about this tomorrow). The second band, Explosions in the Sky, started playing. Now, this band seemed to be pretty good. But then, they didn't sing at all. It was just instrumental. I liked it at first, but quickly became bored from hearing the same notes and chords over and over again for 40 minutes. Music fail.

After only a 40 minute break, the Fire was on! I mention this because it was impressive. There was some decent hustle from their stage crew. The Decemberists took much longer than that.

So here's how the actual show was:

1. Month of May: AF started with this song for obvious reasons. (it's the month of May). But I loathe this song. It just a lot of noise for me. I was glad they got it out of the way right at the first.

2. Rebellion (Lies): So much energy in this song, one of my favorites that they have. You couldn't help but jump around singing, "Lies! Lies!" There was a man walking, no running, around the stage with a drum hitting it with a drumstick. At some point the drumstick flew out of his hand and into the crowd (Hope no one lost an eye!). The man just kept on beating that drum with his fist. He didn't skip a beat. So much fun.

3. Neighborhood #2 (Laika): Earlier in the day, Russ and I were cleaning our bedroom, listening to AF, and I asked Russ, "Do you think they'll play this song?" It was kind of funny when they did. I call this song "Alexander." Because it's all about an older brother named Alexander and then about a neighborhood. It's not my favorite, but it's ok.

At this point I realized something. You see, I listen to AF when I study at law school. On this song I realized that I pretty much knew all the words from listening to it so much. Which is cool for the concert, but it makes me wonder if I learned anything about the law since I seemed to be busy subconsciously memorizing AF songs. SAD reality.

4. Haiti: This song is partially in French. AF also announce after this song that $1 of our ticket sales would be going to help local Haitian doctors treat people in rural areas. This just made me love AF more. Not only do they make awesome music, but they also have a cause!

5. City With No Children: Fun. Just Fun. And it talks about Houston (because one of the singers is from Houston).

6. Rococo: I have a love/hate relationship with this song. I love it when I'm with other people. but when I listen to it on my own, it gets on my nerves. So at the concert it was awesome.

7. Intervention: Before this song AF announced this song is about going to church and the things your parents don't tell you about church. Originally this song is on Neon Bible, which Russ and I got about a week before the show. Sadly, I didn't know it well enough to enjoy it.

8. The Suburbs, The Suburbs (Continued): Yes, they played these two back to back. Which Russ loved. This is one of their best songs. My friend Jess LOVES a part of this song, where the lyrics talk about the beauty left in this world. And she would have cried had she heard it live. It was so beautiful I thought my ears were going to fall off.

And if you've seen the music video, it's a bunch of kids biking around a neighborhood that looks just like where Russ and I live. Which, makes sense, because the video was filmed in Austin, probably in a neighborhood that had the same builder as ours. If you haven't seen it, check it out:

9. Suburban War: This song was so beautiful. But sort of sad. Still, I enjoyed hearing it live. I love the time and meter changes in this song.

10. Keep the Car Running: Another one from Neon Bible. It seemed fun, but I didn't know it.

11. No Cars Go: This was a lot of fun. We kept shouting "HEY!" at certain parts of the song. This never stood out to me when I listen to the recording. But shouting it live was rockin'.

12. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels): AF said that this song was about moving from Houston to Montréal and the first winter up there; how cold it was, but the good parts too. Knowing this, I absolutely fell in love with this song. It's my new favorite!

13. We Used to Wait: I just about went crazy when they started this song. I LOVE THIS ONE! It's about letter writing, and after serving a mission where you live for letters, I felt like I could understand this song. AMAZING! Around this time, we had to get closer. So we pressed through the crowds until we were about 10 ft from the center stage. Much fish jumping ensued.

14. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out): AF said many thank yous and played this song. It's just ok for me.

Finally, they took the standard break while we "wooed" and clapped for them to come back out. After a few minutes, they reemerged, said thank you about a thousand times more, and played:

15. Ready to Start: I love the intro to this song. It just makes your heart pound. More jumping ensued.

16. Wake Up: Finally, they played perhaps their most famous song. Thanks to Motorola commercials, the trailer for "Where the Wild Things Are" and other commercials I can't recall. I videoed the intro, so here it is. This is the uncut version, so there's a few swears at the first as AF explains an exclusive t-shirt made just for the Texas shows (yes, I got one).

17. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains): This was their final song. I was looking forward to them playing this song the whole night. The opening lyrics to this song say, "They heard me singing and  they told me to stop, quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock." I feel like this a lot, because I am sort of a non-pragmatic dreamer. But this song is just fantastic. It was a great way to end the show!

Overall I had a blast. Here are a few other notes:

  • I lost one of my new earrings while jumping. : ( Note to future Chow: Don't wear big, cute earrings to concerts.
  • When I went to buy my t-shirt after the show, it was a cluster of people. There was no rhyme or reason to our attempt to purchase, just mass cluster eager to press forward. A little tween boy pushed his way up to where I was and got in front of me. He was not wearing a shirt. It was so gross everytime I was pushed into his babysoft back-skin or saw his no-hair armpit. I felt disgusting being so close to a half naked young man. Please note: Wear a shirt to a concert. If you take it off, then don't get into a crowd of people and make them touch your peachfuzz back. GROSS.
  • Arcade Fire probably said, "We Love Austin" about 100 times. And not just the male vocal, but all members of the band said it at some point. It made the crowd that much more energized to be there. The Decemberists on the other hand made fun of the "Keep Austin Weird" slogan. AF>D
  • Finally, as we drove home Russ said, "I'd love to see them in a theater". I absolutely agree. While it was fun to be outside and under the stars, I would love to see the AF in a more intimate venue, with less people. I think that would be amazing, and well worth the ticket price.

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