The band that will play anywhere
By Ransom Riggs
Not only are Montreal's The Arcade Fire a chart-topping critic's darling of a rock band -- their album "Neon Bible" is among the best follow-ups to one of the best debut albums in recent memory -- they also don't seem to take themselves all that seriously. (What else would you expect from a band whose many and diverse instruments never seem to be quite in tune with one another -- or themselves? Ah, but the songs are all the more charming for it, damn their eyes.)
The following clip is a great illustration of their casually improvisational attitude toward music-making: it starts with the band in the bowels of a rock arena, the cheers and pounding feet of the crowd echoing distantly. They begin to make their way up to the stage, but when an elevator door malfunctions briefly, they play a song right there, the whole band -- and camera crew -- crammed into the elevator. (Lacking drums, the percussionists bang on the elevator ceiling and rhythmically tear pages from a magazine.) At which point they get the elevator to work, and then proceed not to the stage but out into the middle of the waiting crowd, where they play another song, unplugged save a few megaphones. (Apparently they've been making a habit of this, playing songs in theater foyers, arena steps and on the streets.) Check it out!