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30 Sep 04

the arcade is on fire

having lived in kingston for about 9 years now, i thought i had a pretty good understanding of the typical queen’s concert goer, and, as such, which shows will be packed and which will be completely empty. last night’s arcade fire show at clark hall pub showed that i still have a lot to learn.

on tuesday, jo suggested that there was talk of the show selling out (which i never would have considered ahead of time), and she recommended that i buy an advance ticket online. i did so just in case, and i’m glad that i did. when i arrived at clark at 9 (when the doors were to open), there was a line up down the stairs from the pub all the way to the road, something i’ve never seen before. clearly the arcade fire has benefited from the hype – i heard more than a few people refer to pitchfork’s glowing 9.7 review of their first full length while waiting in line. anyway, i waited in line patiently with a few people who weren’t lucky enough to have tickets, and did so until after 10:30 when the openers, the ride theory, finally went on (and consequently had to abandon them – there were no more tickets to be had).

clark was far from packed, which was a bit frustrating. when i went inside, i left behind a lineup that still stretched nearly to the road – enough people to easily sell out clark twice. i’m still curious as to how they’re able to get away with jamming far more people into the pub for ritual or queen’s players shows…but hey, at leat i got in.

anyway, i like what i’ve heard of the ride theory previously. i saw them at the scherzo over a year ago, and they put on a solid yardbirds/stones-influenced show. their set last night started out a bit weak (the lead singer’s vocals were shakey at best) but improved as it went on. regardless, their musicianship is hard to criticize – great guitar work throughout, wearing their influences on their sleeves, and once they settled in and stopped making me cringe with failed harmonies i quite enjoyed their set.

after the ride theory wrapped up and completely disassembled their equipment, the arcade fire began to gradually lug their mountains of equipment up to the stage. if you aren’t familiar with them, they’re a 6-piece with a few guitars, keyboards, an accordian, a violin, a cello and various percussive elements (a full drum kit obviously, as well as a xylophone, about a million tamborines, smacking the ceiling and everything in sight with drumsticks, snapping fingers, etc.) anyway, the set up time was extraordinarily long, and there were a number of sound problems encountered that would likely have been resolved with a sound check…but that was not to be.

they finally went on at around 12:30 or so (zzzzz), and had to fight through a lot of sound problems through their first few songs – painful feedback, an amp that was in and out, and monitors that were acting up (“the violin in the monitor is killing me! it’s hard to sing when i’m not sure i’ll ever get to hear my child’s voice…”) anyway, these problems were more or less straightened out after the first few songs, and what was left was pure enjoyment. i absolutely loved watching their redhaired, glasses-wearing jack-of-all-trades. jo compared him (in a favourable way) to napoleon dynamite – he was everywhere, completely emotive and lost in the song, whether he was playing guitar, accordian, keys, xylophone, his fingers, or just beating his drum sticks against anything nearby. and really, he was indicative of the band on the whole – so much energy put into such great songs, i barely noticed that it was 2 am by the time they finished. i have absolutely nothing negative to say about their performance – it was much like the salteens/sekiden show of a couple summers ago, giving their all for a performance that was clearly for an audience they (not to mention me) weren’t expecting. the lead singer at one pointed commented that “this is fucking incredible”, referring to how into it the audience was.

i can’t finish this without mentioning the crowd. overall, i was quite impressed – for the most part, the people who got in were actually fans of the band, many of whom were singing along and genuinely excited to see the next “it” band – but there were a few exceptions. examples:

-about midway through the set, a few guys started to mosh. did they think it was 1994?

-one guy showed up late wearing a brand new billy tallent hat (who had obviously just finished playing at aj’s). they should have denied his admittance.

-something about the arcade fire seemed to trigger a bizarre reaction in some of the audience members’ brains that made them dance like maniacs – and not in a good way. one woman was doing her best “elaine”, another was doing full body thrusts, and several were step dancing up a storm. it seemed almost contagious, and seemed to spread through the crowd like a virus – providing us no end of laughing.

one final note was yet another indie celeb sighting – grad club virginia brought along matt and jill barber, and she was nice enough to introduce me to jill. granted, that’s not quite as out of the blue as seeing sam roberts at the elixir, but celebs are celebs.

One Response to “the arcade is on fire”

  1. 1
    el scotto Says:

    i wish peterborough’s arcade was on fire.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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