Friday, March 09, 2007

arcade fire

arcade fireIt was an early morning start as I had a work related course to attend in manchester at 0830, so I left the house at dawn, the sky just turning blue, but the moon still prominant. In fact on my way up the hill, the moon appeared above the horizon looking huige and bulbous, but as I got higher, the angles changed lifting the moon from it's horizon hugging position and the satellite rapidly shrunk. It's a bizarre optical illusion. The course wasn't too tortuous, and at lunch I picked up the last minute ticket for the gig I had purchased, that had been mailed to the course venue. It's presence helped get me through the afternoon session, a slight excitement building. Once the course ended around 4 ther was a swift and mass exodus of the participants as they headed out to beat the rush hour traffic. I meandered down to a pub for a drink and to finish reading a book. After some food the traffic had died down and I managed to navigate myself to the apollo, spend some time in a pub awaiting the door opening. There was quite a queue, but it quickly dwindled as the doors opened, a very efficient scanning system was used for swift entry. I've not been to the apollo before, and it is a very nice medium sized venue. A theatre with the seat removed in the stalls, leaving a slightly sloping floor aiding good vantage points, even from the back. Being early I hovered neaer the front and watched the roadies set up the equipment. They seemed to be having problems with a theramin, and it was amusing watching them frantically waving their arms around in the air in an effort to get it to work. Patrick Wolf was the support act, a camp and flambouyant character whose music is worthy of further investigationn I think. Quite heavily string laden, but with hauntingly god melodies. Finally just after 9 arcade fire took to the stage. A vast array of instruments, organs, keyboards, hurdy-gurdys, strings, guitars and horns were used to create their eclectic art rock symphonies. It really was a fantastic spectacle. The only down side being the sound is obviously mixed for the centre of the auditorium, whereas near the front, the bass speakers take precedence so the mix of higher frequencies was too low at this position, due to the fact that the speakers producing the higher mix were hanging about 10m above my head! The other annoying thing were some idiot students near me, who seemed excited to see the band but then continued to chat through most of the songs. During 'power out' win butler invited some of the audience on to the stage, which included said students who cavorted around in an awful display of egotism, especially the boys. Arms aloft and chests out, they really detracted from a fantastic song. They seemed to think that the crowd were cheering them and were feeding from this in some kind of frenzy, it was a sad spectacal. No doubt they know think they are great, thing is, I didin't know who they were, don't know and don't care. Which is true for 99% of the audience. The arcade fire on the other hand.... There were some other audience members onstage watching the perfomance for it's entirity and they acted with much more dignity. The gig mainly consited of tunes from their new record, the neon bible, interspersed with tunes from funeral. From first impressions neon bible is going to be another great record. The musician ship of arcade fire is remarkable as they inter-change instruments and vocals. It's great to see, though sometimes breaks the flow of the concert as you are left waiting between songs as the band members swap instruments. Well worth paying slightly over the odds for the ticket.

most of my photos didn't come out, but a few are available on flickr arcade fire set

1 comment:

Ray said...

I haven't been to the Manchester apollo in years - either natalie merchant or Lou Reed circa his new York album. Great venue.

Don't but much new music these days either (onset on middle age i'm afraid) but Arcade Fire are excellent and a firm favourite on my MP3

I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks

Ray (also in Sheffield)