Monday, October 22, 2007

Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, NYC 10.07

After getting our chicken and waffle on at the M&G diner in Harlem, we made or way to the bus stop to catch our ride to Randall's Island for the big big show. The trip over was quick and easy, and we arrived at the gates early. Quite a bit early. So we waited and waited in a tight throng of indie kids until they let us in around 3:30.

The concert venue at Randall's Island is essentially a ginormous field connected to a huge paved rectangular area at least a couple hundred meters across and twice that deep fronted by a tall girdered bandshell. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but plenty of room and easy access to beer and food.

Besides, later, when the Arcade Fire hit the stage to send the already ecstatic hordes into orbit, mere details like the asphalt underfoot wouldn't matter.

But first, out of New Hampshire, Wild Light. In a word: Lame. Perhaps I'm being too hard on them, but their Wallflowers meets Midnight Oil vibe just wasn't doing it for me. They looked like rock stars, but they were just plain boring, pedestrian lyrics made all too clear and intelligible in the vocal heavy mix, with the same description applying to the rhythm guitar. And no matter. Les Savy Fav was next.

Tim Harrington moved as quickly from normally dressed to costumed to half naked to costumed again (this time in a leotard with the nervous system printed on it, far as I could tell) as he did from flailing about the stage to wandering in the crowd to flailing about the stage again, and again. He was all frenetic magnificent energy, romping through plenty of new stuff off Let's Stay Friends (Raging in the Plague Age stood way out) and reaching way back past Inches (The Sweat Descends!) to ROME and beyond to drop some Who Rocks the Party on us real quick like. A great set, even if the sound and maniacal presence were somewhat unavoidably tamed by the size of the stage.

Blonde Redhead followed, as the sky darkened a bit, and their all-red lightshow matched well to the darker, more ethereal and mysterious feel of their new record, 23. The threesome stayed with the new release for most of their set, and this was a good thing, the set bound together by common vibe and sound more than I've felt with them before. Even if the new one is more poppy and accessible, adjectives some wield as condescension but I feel serves them well this time round, the show was magnificent, the mood sustained and the songs memorable to the last.

When LCD Soundsystem took the stage, launching straight into Get Innocuous off their latest, the crowd blew up. James Murphy's sort of solo recording act is a full-on dead-righteous band in the live setting, up to 4 or 5 people playing percussion at any given time, and Murphy himself with charisma to burn. The songs were long and knocked out with unflagging energy every time, from the showstopper North American Scum to the first album's Tribulations. The light show was hot, and the band obviously thrilled to be back home after a long time on the road.

Us v Them was a nonstop dance party, and Someone Great was sublime, ringing through the doorbell melody and accentuating the lightly plodding bottom. They ended with New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, of course, and it was a fitting end to a brilliant set.

It'd be hard to imagine having to follow this band on this night, but when the Arcade Fire is headlining, the wonder stops pretty quick. It'd been since Sasquatch two years previous that I'd seen them, and I found myself as excited as the first time as they took the stage. They started a bit slowly, with Black Mirror off their new one, but there'd be no disappointing this crowd tonight. Keep the Car Running was right on its heels, and that one elevated the assembly to the heights they'd been expecting. From there on, it was relentless. Haiti, Power Out, Intervention, I'm Sleeping In a Submarine, No Cars Go, they just kept coming. They closed the set with Antichrist Television Blues, powerfully, and came back out for a few more, including the showstopper Wake Up.

The Arcade Fire play every song like the world will end with its final crescendo. Who knows how long they can keep that up, or how long we'll rise and fall with their every move. From the looks of this show, from the sound of this band, the end is nowhere in sight.

(photos horked from,0740arcadefire,77987,3.html?pic=1&total=39)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Catching Up

Although the New York trip lasted a day longer than we'd planned, we did get back just fine, and we've been so busy since then I haven't had time to write a single thing about the trip. But I've got notes, and I'll be putting them and some pics together very soon and posting it to the travel blog. Here, I'll make extensive note of the Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem show we caught while in NYC.

But not tonight, as Interpol and Liars are playing the Big Easy. I'll be doing that instead, thanks.

Other things of note to be hitting this blog soon:
  • Thoughts on Radiohead's In Rainbows.
  • Updates on Boise Community Radio's progress toward obtaining a license and frequency.
  • Notes on Les Savy Fav's Let's Stay Friends.
Check back, would ya?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Cathy and I are in New York City for a week, visiting friends, seeing music, and eating everything. Check back later for a full report.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Zambrano takes the mound tonight in the opening game of the National League Division Series. The Cubs face the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it looks to be a promising series.

The NL is looking ripe for the taking. Could we be looking at a Red Sox-Cubs world series? That'd be something.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Shepherd's Dog

Hill Country transplant Sam Beam, aka Iron and Wine, has released his newest record for Sub Pop. It's called The Shepherd's Dog, and though I haven't got hands or ears on it yet, early reports are strongly favorable.

I've been a fan of Beam for a short while, and was totally convinced of his talents after hearing his collaboration with Calexico of last year.

Check out my man Dan Oko's piece on Beam, his music, his art, and his new home, on the cover of the Austin Chronicle.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Weekend In THE City

Cathy and I are headed to NYC this weekend. I've never been there, if you can believe that, so I'm incredibly terribly really excited. I mean, really excited.

The main reason for the trip is to catch the rock show of the decade: Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, and Blonde Redhead. We've been scouting the opportunity to catch AF and LCD on tour together, and had just about bought tickets to Denver to see them at Red Rocks when we found out that Les Savy Fav and Blonde Redhead were joining the bill on Randall Island in New York.

Cathy got in touch with our wonderful friend Heidi who is gracious enough to put us up, and the deal was done.

We'll catch music and eat our way across the city.

I hope to take plenty of photos and do some writing over on the travel blog, if you care to check in there. Also, if you have interest, Cathy will soon be putting together some words and pictures from her recent trip to Burma over on that blog.

Check it out.