I am not afraid to admit that I am a fan of the kazoo. And I’m probably going to be a fan of any band that can belt out a tune on a kazoo in front of a bazillion people. Which is to say, Tammara may have been disappointed by yesterday’s teaser forecast, but I was super-glad to not have to galosh my way through the Arcade Fire show at the Bowl last night. Because Arcade Fire knows how to work a kazoo. And an accordion, violin, viola, French horn, clarinet, xylophone, even a celesta–at least that’s what we think it was. What you miss just listening to them on CD (or I miss in any case) is, for one, how damn antic the Arcadians are (there are 10 of them when they tour) and how versatile. One minute someone’s on the viola; the next minute she’s on a horn and all the while, on the move. I cut my musical teeth on hardcore punk rock, so big stadium shows are sometimes a turn off to me, but this is a band that needs some real estate, and who doesn’t love the Hollywood Bowl?
Even better, I didn’t realize that LCD Soundsystem was opening until we got there. I confess I don’t know them as well except what I hear on the radio, but they were good enough that I now must go buy their stuff. James Murphy reminds me of a cross between Ian Curtis and Fred Flintstone. He looks like he should be mowing his lawn or watching the game, not fronting a band. (The bloggers next to me–we were in the blogging ghetto apparently–said “he looks like the kind of guy who would help you move,” and I concur.) Anyway, they were great. It was a real one-two punch night.
Admittedly, it wasn’t perfect. The people next to me were smoking some awful skunk weed much of the night, and some tool spilled a ginormous beer on my messenger bag. Worse, there were some difficulties with the sound through the first couple of songs, and the result was a mix more dirge-like than orchestral. But that got sorted, and the rest of the show made up for it. I especially appreciated “Haiti.” (The band is particularly taken up with Haiti, and a dollar from each ticket went to Partners in Health, an organization that fights poverty in Haiti. Win Butler’s guitar has a Haitian proverb, “sak vide pa kanpe,” taped across the front– in English: “that which is empty cannot stand up.”) The encore was honestly, perhaps the best encore I’ve witnessed. The show closed with “Wake Up,” which is a song made to have a stadium full of people singing the chorus together. It was almost enough to make me love my fellow man.
No, not really. Even if I had been so moved, the Hwood Bowl parking lot can leach the altruism out of anyone.
And on the way home, what did we spy, but the lonely house of the 101, which I hear is for rent now.
Image courtesy of Tammylo, who has plenty more cool Arcade Fire shots.