Chris Farrance 14/03/2007
Brixton is full to the brim with happy, young sixth formers waiting to hear from universities, and people who resemble aunts and uncles. Tonight sees the return of Arcade Fire, bringing their new album 'Neon Bible' across the waves along with a bloody great big organ. The lights dim, and on the round screens dotted around the stage a piece of footage is shown of a 'preacher type woman' working herself and the expectant crowd into a frenzy! Then they arrive on stage all 5, 6, 7… well all of them anyway including a new brass section.
It's not long until we're into 'Keep the Car Running' and immediately it's clear why the group are where they are today. The energy onstage boosted largely by Richard (organ, guitar, percussion, e.t.c…) and Sarah (hot pants- wearing violinist): it's an all out need to dance and just don't care what you look like. The crowd start off loud but moving through some other 'Neon Bible' tracks get increasingly quiet, owing mainly to respect of what the band is trying to say. The lack of crowd noise upsets Win Butler slightly who asks “why are you guys so f@*k**g quiet?” which is enough to ignite everyone in the room, including an old man with a walking stick who is running towards me to dance with the kids and make security nervous but confused!
Regine (a.k.a. Win's wife) takes centre stage on 'Haiti' and later on 'Black Wave', breaking out some Bjork/Jarvis Cocker lovechild moves, which charms the front row, and with band members each shown on their own screen the whole room feels involved. This doesn't just feel like a band who is here to pay for the first class trip back home, it's a warm, energetic gig with a group who remind us all of what cool should mean now, without hairspray.
The organ booms into 'Intervention', which is clearly going to be a festival anthem. As Win sweats through his shirt covered in what appears to be fluorescent strips, we're moved through the safety of 'Laika', 'Tunnels' and 'Power Out', which all go down like someone's just lit a match on the alcoholic flooring beneath us, causing 10.000 people to stamp and jump at once. One encore ensues and we're left fulfilled and wondering why we forgot how far away Brixton is to where anyone lives. Arcade Fire surely satisfied any fan and picked up a new batch along the way, thanks to their brilliant live show.