Arcade Fire’s North American Tour 2010: Ottawa Bluesfest

Arcade Fire is a Montreal musical group who are best know for their emotive catalogue of songs. They recently performed a show from their 2010 North American Tour and we have a break down of that performance at the Ottawa Bluesfest.

Outdoor concert series like Ottawa Ontario’s Bluesfest can be a lot of fun though it does take a bit of a sit in order to find yourself at a respectable proximity to the main stage. Luckily, there is almost always a bit of light entertainment that erupts within an eagerly waiting crowd. Case in point, you end up being located in an arms length of a threesome of very short men smoking the mightiest of spliffs. After one of the three proceeded to explain his technique for smoking, that one must take a large drag then allow the smoke to refill the mouth only to inhale again quickly, which he then demonstrated for his friends and general on lookers.
And as the time ticked closer to the start of the concert and the gentle haze of sweetly sour smoke settled over the mass of people front and center for the show a sense of collective anticipation started to rise. You can hear small patches of people trying to make a vain attempt to insight the traditionally stoic concert going crowds of Ottawa into some kind of visceral act of expression with small radiations of Arcade Fire’s Wake Up. Instead all that is heard is the muffled chatter of the crowd accompanied by a familiar distant melody. 
As for the show itself, the aesthetics of Arcade Fire’s Live Show were relatively subdued. The majority of the band wore red stained clothes splattered on like the group had just come from a slaughter or a feverish session of apartment painting.  The lighting for the show was the standard rock collection usually seen at any professionally designed performance. The back drop for the show was a stage wide photo of intersecting elevated highways shot on an upward pointing angle.  In front of the highway photo was a large display which would project real time and other more random images of the band and stage shaded and coloured in a fashion fitting each song.
What really stood out were the new songs, Rococo, Month of May and others.  These new additions that will be available to buy at the beginning of August were peppered throughout the bands Bluesfest performance. The new songs did not seem to have the same resonance as those from Funeral or Neon Bible albums among even this very Arcade Fire friendly crowd.  In part because most of the people in the crowed had never heard the new songs and the band didn’t seem to have these new additions to their repertoire down to a science yet. Though they did play the single off of their up coming album The Suburbs (of the same name) it had little affect on the crowd. However, when the band preformed another song off of The Suburbs album called Rococo, the crowed ignited. This previously unheard song, Rococo, has all of the elements that made Arcade Fire such a well loved band, a visceral energy that strikes at the heart and a refrain that is subtly subversive towards a certain organized religion.  The best part of the show was hearing the track Wake Up performed live for the first time. Being able to sing along to that now iconic tonal interlude… how sweet it was.  The performance may have only gone on for an hour and a half including the obligatory encore.

But that wasn’t the last the Ottawa crowd saw of the band.
After the show had ended and the streets of Lebreton Flats were filling with people making their ways home, a group of very young boys could be heard playing some classic rock songs on their quarter sized electrics. This very brave performance must have reached the ears of the members of Arcade Fire because there were Win Butler, Régine Chassagne and company singing backup for the tiny rockers. Quite a sight to see, still in their performing attire and tired from their show, the band managed to come out and support some aspiring musicians;  a memorable sight.   

Indie Blog Shot Associate: Evan Robinson

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