Arcade Fire: Newcastle Metro FM Arena

Artist: Arcade Fire
Venue: Newcastle Metro FM Arena
Location: Alex Rushforth
Date: 29/10/2007

Much has been said over the past couple of years about Montreal’s Arcade Fire, scarcely any of it bad. This bandwagon has been more or less constant since the release of their debut album Funeral in 2005. Response to this year’s follow-up, Neon Bible, has found the press and fans alike positively falling over themselves to douse the band in praise. There is no real sign of the backlash that one might have expected when any act becomes so lauded. This appears to be down to the simple fact that Arcade Fire are actually that good.

The only question was whether their brand of anthemic yet intimate rock-pop would translate well into a large arena setting. One might struggle to call the Newcastle Arena intimate and the poor sound so often synonymous with these sorts of American-style sporting complexes might have hindered a lesser group. However, any prior doubts were soon forgotten. Openers ‘(Antichrist Television Blues)’ and ‘Black Mirror’ set the tone and the rest followed effortlessly.

It became apparent that as well as an abundance of musical talent in their onstage arsenal, the band have a pair of sex symbolsin the form of married couple Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. They make a genuinely charismatic front pairing. Chassagne’s voice shone through on the wondrous ‘In the Backseat’ and she also provided extra percussion on ‘Neighbourhood #1’.

The Geordie crowd provided a rapturous reception to closers ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘Wake Up’, and as if all of this weren’t enough there was a cover of The Smiths’ ‘Still Ill’ thrown in for good measure. As a band playing a gig, It was virtually impossible to fault them, even in a stadium setting.

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