The Kills and The Long BlondesEdit this event
The Long Blondes are first up on tonight's 6Music sponsored bill, and for a home town show they draw a surprisingly meagre crowd. Clearly, the prospect of seeing The Arcade Fire in such an intimate venue has attracted people from further afield who aren't au fait with the 'Nu Yorkshire scene,' or whatever the NME is calling it this week.
Our host Steve Lamacq is certainly up-to-speed, and his praise for the 'Blondes before they take the stage is unequivocal. Some of it is even true: the song he name-checks, ('Appropriation (By Any Other Name)'), is indeed a decent enough single but they clearly have better tunes. 'Autonomy Boy' and 'Lust In The Movies' are tonight's picks and although the sound doesn't do them any favours they more than hold their own; a compliment in itself considering the quality of the acts that follow.
The Kills play a severely shortened set due to a scheduling cock-up, yet impress. With them, less has always been more and for two people with a drum machine they put on quite a show. Relying heavily on the boy-girl dynamic, VV* and *Hotel's chemistry is obvious, not least when they perform with mic stands facing. To watch them leaves you feeling slightly voyeuristic, but just try looking away.
With the Arcade Fire, there simply isn't anywhere else to look. Their eight members just about fit on the Leadmill's stage, but that doesn't stop a jubilant Richard Reed-Parry from hoisting Will Butler over his shoulders and swinging him around like a windmill during the last song, almost knocking over his brother Win. The 'Fire's frontman has a reputation for being a sullen character, but tonight we catch him in a good mood.
When asked to "play something we know" after a couple of lesser known songs from their self-titled EP, Butler suggests they do Crazy Frog. Thankfully, he eventually opts for 'Tunnels' instead, and so begins possibly the best end to a set that this reviewer has ever had the privilege of witnessing.
Following that with “a song that our friend Crazy Frog taught us” ('Power Out') and latest single 'Rebellion (Lies)' before rounding things off with an emphatic 'Laika,' it's a dream end to an incredible show. Classically trained musicians playing rock arrangements is far from conventional, but it's a formula that has made 2005 the year of the Arcade Fire.
Ethereal, majestic and buoyant are just three of the adjectives that could be applied to their live shows, but as anybody who has seen them in the last twelve months will testify, it's easy to run out of superlatives.
- Open'er 2012: Penderecki's violin revolution in Poland
- News Mixtape: July 2012 ft. Frank Ocean, Death Cab's Ben Gibbard, Peter Broderick, Lykke Li and more
- Five For Friday: POLIÇA, EMA, The Kills, Chromatics, Perfume Genius
- This Week's Singles - 13/02/12: The Kills, Sleigh Bells, M83, First Aid Kit
- In Photos: The Kills @ O2 Brixton Academy
- My Morning Jacket kick-off Lauren Laverne's festive MPFree giveaways
- This Week's Singles: 24/10/11 Icona Pop, Peggy Sue, Casiokids, The Leisure Society
- In Photos: The Kills @ Leeds Festival 2011