Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I am now free to blog. No more dissertation, no more job interviews for a bit, only 9 weeks til the next killer extended essays are due. So I will talk about the most amazing gig I've been to...The Arcade Fire at Porchester Hall last Thursday. Eliz had flown over from Berlin especially for it and we spent the evening prior to the gig lying on my bed and listening to the band's forthcoming new album, Neon Bible, before the rest of the world. That sent anticipation levels through the roof.

We headed over to West London (blergh!) at the respectable time of 4.30pm, expecting there to be a queue snaking round the block. There wasn't. We were first. An excellent feeling. After three hours we were finally let in and ran for pole position at the front of the stage, waited another hour and a bit and the band came on. The audience's reaction was a little bit more subdued than I'd have expected for a band adored by as many as the Arcade Fire, but they soon warmed up when the older songs were played. The show was so intense. I could hardly believe my eyes, seeing them all feet away from me, lined up along the wide stage, all showing their passion for these heart-wrenching songs in their own way. In the venue's ornate dim light I forgot that there was anyone else around me and dreamed I had my own private show.

Then this big, lanky object (Win) came into the crowd beside me and was playing his guitar with a fiery intensity against three of my favourite people. It looked something like this:

This kinda move comes across as gimmicky with most other bands, but not so with Arcade Fire. With so much power unleashed from their many instruments, a stage simply cannot contain them.

Regine's vocals throughout out were beautifully haunting, but her performance was amazing. She jerked with interpretive dance moves and stared around the audience with intent. She reminded me of Vaudeville/Cabaret performers and was utterly captivating to watch. One of the set's high points was Haiti, where she takes over the lead vocals. I've always loved this song - it stands out on Funeral as coming from somewhere else from the rest of the material, with it's sub-tropical, half-time feel. It did just that at the gig.

They finished the set by busking in the venue's foyer, Wake Up was the tune. I was still upstairs, but I heard it. And now thanks to YouTube we can all watch it!. Then they came upstairs again and played a spooky rendition of the Clash's Guns of Brixton, which you can download over at The Torture Garden.

I left the gig wanting more, but very, very satisfied. I wish I had tickets to one of the Brixton shows, or, better still, the Berlin show! But I will be in Montreal in June where I'm sure people only talk about Arcade Fire, and all over there are posters proclaiming them to be regional heroes. We can but dream.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 2/07/2007 11:03:00 pm


Blogger elizabeth said...

that photo of Win in the crowd really is one of the best of all the ones i've seen from that night!!!! thanks for reminding me of all the lovely details. awww xxxx


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