Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem at the Starlight Theatre (September 28, 2007)

29 09 2007

Just typing out that title, “Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem” makes me giggle… I would say that I have no words to express what a momentous concert it was, but that is untrue.

After much shuffling of rides, I rode to the Starlight Theatre out in KC with my friend and fellow Music Committee member, Doug. We left Mizzou around 4:30, and after a quick detour into Kansas on our way to the show, got to the venue just before 7. Unfortunately, unlike some of my fan-boy friends, we were not among the first however-many to arrive and get these orange bracelets that allowed you to go down to the front.

(I should also note, for the uninitiated, that the Starlight Theatre is an outdoor theatre. Maybe Houston gives it away too easily by calling our outdoor theaters things like “The Miller Outdoor Theatre,” but I had no clue that I was gonna be outdoors in the Missouri chill for this one, which would be my only minor complaint… and even still, I choose to blame the weather.. stupid Missouri.)

We hit up ye olde merch table, bought some tasty $4 water, and assumed our position in the orchestra section.

LCD Soundsystem was the opening act, which really just seems so strange that THE LCD Soundsystem was opening for someone… but it was incredible nonetheless. They (James Murphy plus his touring band of Hot Chip guitarist Al Doyle, drummer Pat Mahoney, bassist Phil Skarich, and keyboardist Nancy Whang) started the set with “Us v. Them” off of LCD Soundsystem’s latest album, Sound of Silver. It’s a good, solid jam, but I was more excited when he followed it with the party staple of ’05 “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” off of the 2005 self-titled album. Continuing, they played “North American Scum,” the absolutely phenomenal “All My Friends,” “Someone Great,” and “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.”

The energy in the crowd, most of them undoubtedly there for Arcade Fire, was pretty amazing. It is not often that you can look out on a crowd of more than a thousand people and see them all dancing, whether they mean to or not, to a band that most have never heard. I would credit it to James Murphy’s incredible emotional energy, which is almost as tangible in his video for “All My Friends,” his ode to the 1990’s rave culture, as it was live. Because, really, what is more universal than late nights with friends, dancing around on drugs, and bittersweet nostalgia?


Video for “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

Arcade Fire was next on the Starlight stage. Televangelists screeched out of screens set up around the stage, growing into a cacophony that frenzied the crowd before the band took the stage as the pages of the famous neon Bible flashed on the screens.

The band (sans the incomparable Owen Pallet) took the stage and launched into what was one of the most visually spectacular shows I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. A set of pipes hung in the back as cameras placed about stage provided images of band members that were projected about the stage in brilliant contrast. The effect was strong as people left their seats and crowded in the aisles in order to be just that much closer to the band.

Arcade Fire is a very physical band to begin with, not necessarily in a “thrashing” sense, but they perform in a way that makes them seem as if they are physically pulling every note and word from some deeper place within themselves. Band members hammer away on the glockenspiel, pound on drums, and dance like the crazy, crazy Canadians that they are. They did a good job of playing from both their debut album, Funeral, and their more recent album, Neon Bible, and also incorporated a The Magnetic Fields cover (“Born on a Train”) into the set, saying that Kansas City, “seems like a train kind of town.”

Other highlights included the crowd-pleasing “No Cars Go,” as well as what I think is the greatest rock song of the year, “Intervention” – a song that Win said is “about the governor, or former governor, of me and my brother’s home state.” What state is that? Why, Texas, of course! (Fun fact: Win and William are from The Woodlands). But none compares to when the Fire played “Rebellion (Lies)” to close out the set… it is probably my favorite song I’ve ever seen played live.


“Rebellion (Lies)” live on Letterman

Arcade Fire setlist: Black Mirror, Keep the Car Running, Neighborhood #2 (Laika), No Cars Go, Haiti, In the Backseat, Born on a Train (The Magnetic Fields cover), Intervention, Antichrist Television Blues, Well and the Lighthouse, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), and Rebellion (Lies).

It was a brilliant show, all in all… the atmosphere, the energy, the sweat that covered my friend Danny as Win Butler walked through the crowd.

Downloads:
“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem
“Kick Out The Chairs” – MUNK feat. James Murphy
“Intervention” – Arcade Fire
“Rebellion (Lies)” – Arcade Fire

ALSO: Please look here and consider supporting Partners In Health, an organization working to provide free health care in Haiti, Regine’s birthplace.





Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party at The Pageant (September 14, 2007)

16 09 2007

After finally breaking down Friday morning on my way to Bio lecture, I decided it was about time I went to the Student Health Center – where I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and they loaded me up with about 5 different prescriptions.
I took my medicine, started feelin’ pretty happy, and then hopped in ye olde Jeep and made a run for St. Louis in order to escape the horror that is parents roaming the hallways of Cramer Hall here on Parents’ Weekend at Mizzou.

We left town around 5 and made it into St. Louis around 7, ate at Bread Co. (Panera everywhere else) and then walked back down to The Pageant to see Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party perform.

The ticket said 8:00, which I assumed to be the door time, but when we got there, Smoosh was already a ways into their set. While they are nothing fantastic, for a couple of 12 and 14 year old girls from Seattle on synth, drums, and xylophone, they were pretty okay. Actually, maybe they were more than okay, but my appreciation of them was overshadowed by my jealousy… who on Earth could ever dream of opening for bands like Pearl Jam, Bloc Party, The Go! Team, Cat Power, Mates of State, among others, when you are only 12… that is straight up insanity. I must give them credit for being badasses… Asya (the keyboardist) evidently rocked so hard that she bled all over her keyboard and kind of grossed out Final Fantasy.

Asya of Smoosh (imagine her just bleeding all over right then… hardcore.)

Cranking ’em through like pros, Smoosh finished their set at around 8:30 and cleared the way for Final Fantasy (a.k.a. Owen Pallett) to take the stage. Now, while Owen Pallett may not necessarily ring a bell, I’m hoping everyone knows of Arcade Fire by now, yes? Well, simply, Owen is the violinist for Arcade Fire.
And he is crazy talented. And kind of a cutie. But also he is gay, unfortunately for me.
He was set up stage right, and I was down in front at stage left, so I don’t have any pictures of him.. but just imagine a cute little guy up there with his violin, singing while an artist created some of the most amazing picture stories on an overhead in the middle of the stage.

He played eight songs with the artist (one for each of “Final Fantasy’s 8 Schools of Magic”) and a few more just by himself.

Final Fantasy’s Eight Schools of Magic

“The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead

He was the best.. the only thing I can complain about is the fact that I was standing near the most dick-headed kids on Earth. For real. Fucking teeny-boppers had a sarcastic comment to throw at ANYTHING that Owen did – from the times that he sang into his violin (“Hey! Hey! That’s not a microphone! HA HA HA”) to the art that was being displayed. Midway through the show I wrote myself a note: “Remember to only go to indie shows from now on.”

For serious people.. he just wants to play his violin. That’s all.

So unfortunately Final Fantasy’s amazing performance had to come to a close, and Bloc Party took the stage, did a whole bunch of typical rock star gimmicky crap and then I felt cheated for going. Plus, the bouncer full on yelled at me for using my brand new camera midway through. At what level does a camera become qualified as a “professional?” When it is no longer a point-and-shoot? When it has a detachable lens? When I am a paid photographer?

I did manage to get a couple shots off though…

Anyway.. Bloc Party was okay. They played “Banquet” which is kind of the only song I like, and then during their finale Owen and Smoosh came back out and danced with Bloc Party, and Owen gave those jerk kids down in front cake, why? Because that’s what Jesus would do. Am I saying Owen Pallett is Jesus? Maybe I am.

Maybe I am.

Downloads:
The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead” – Final Fantasy
Sharks (with Final Fantasy)” – Cadence Weapon
Many Lives (49 MP)” – Final Fantasy
Helicopter” – Bloc Party
Banquet” – Bloc Party