Arcade Fire - LG Academy, Birmingham (08/11/2010)

Michael Shelton | Saturday, 11 December 2010

Arcade Fire - LG Academy, Birmingham (08/11/2010)

The rise of the Arcade Fire has been phenomenal and a joy to behold. Their baroque roots and opening album Funeral's undercurrent of death combined with an eclectic line-up are hardly the elements that make up a stadium-filling band. Yet after an amazing set at a sold out LG Arena, the only question left is how high can they go?

The evening opened rather fittingly with 'Ready To Start.' The indie rockers easily filled the bigger stage and with Regine Chassagne pitching in one of her multiple musical roles as a supplementary drummer, sonic amplification was not a problem.

Pre-gig nerves may have been feared but picking up the pace immediately, the band surged into 'Neighbourhood' with its five minutes of distorted guitars and resonant piano undercurrent. With some frantic percussion accompaniment supporting its urgent beats, only two songs in it felt like they were drumming for their lives.

The opening salvo climaxed with 'No Cars Go', completing a track from their three albums to date. Anyone coming in late would be forgiven for thinking this was an encore as lead singer Win Butler launched a baying crowd to its feet, where they stayed for the remaining hour. After eight minutes of epic enlightenment, the only fear was that the Fire would burn out too early.

Chassagne brought it down a notch with 'Sprall II', infusing a track about the suffocation of the suburbs with an ethereal beauty. Embodying Debbie Harry at her 'Heart Of Glass', she continued vocal duties with 'Empty Room' which gave ample room for their string section to go as postal as is possible on classical instruments.

The arena transformed into the sonic feel of a church as Butler switched to the organ for 'My Body Is A Cave' and with the joyous 'Intervention' following shortly after, any pastors present could be forgiven for thinking they'd missed the latest version of 'Their Words, Our Thoughts' songbook as thousands joined in with almost religious fervour – 'Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart'.

Just to prove they have a rocky edge 'Month Of May' gave Butler his chance to go all Guitar Hero, which led into a fiery Funeral double bill of 'Neighbourhood #3' and 'Rebellion', with its ever increasing tempo refrain building a stirring crescendo. Both band and audience were grateful for a respite before unleashing another musical tirade in their encore.

Traditional curtain closer 'Wake Up' was a suitably stunning conclusion.
Gushing reviews for the start of the tour had set the bar pretty high for the Arcade Fire. They cleared it with room to spare.

Rating: 5/5