Arcade Fire: An Appreciation
As a teenager I had a strange obsession with the music of Bruce Springsteen. I listened to so much Springsteen in high school that as a 14 year old kid from Ontario I felt as though I understood the struggle of a middle aged family man working in a garage somewhere in Jersey struggling to make ends meet. I couldn't get enough of that universe Springsteen wrote about..."Dad, whats a union card?" "Mom, what's the gambling commission?"
In Fall 2007 I was starting grade 11 and Springsteen and E Street Band were touring their album 'Magic'. My whole family toured up from Kingston to Ottawa to see the show. It was incredible, I was finally watching my hero play live...and the Boss was not disappointing. During the encore Bruce said, "We have some special guests tonight." Please be Eddie Vedder. Please be Eddie Vedder. "Please welcome to the stage Win and Regine from Arcade Fire!" I was confused...who are they? Who's Arcade Fire? They ripped into State Trooper from Springsteen's Nebraska album...and then Bruce and E Street Band ripped into an Arcade Fire tune called 'Keep The Car Running' I recall my brother using it as a good chance to go out for a smoke. I, on the other hand, was totally digging this tune that I had never heard. It kind of sounded like a Springsteen tune...and Bruce and his band took the time to learn it... so it must be good! Arcade Fire...don't forget the name...Arcade Fire.
I walked to the mall the very next day to pick up an Arcade Fire CD...Neon Bible...I played the hell out of it. It was probably the first time in 3 years I had veered off my steady diet of Springsteen and Pearl Jam. It was album to me not unlike Born To Run...it made me lay on my bed and read all the lyrics as I listened along...it made me think. I'd go back to that CD store and bring back their debut album 'Funeral' and then take it all in like I did 'Neon Bible'.
Years later I was a directionless 19 year old mowing lawns...and Arcade Fire dropped 'The Suburbs' A bunch of songs about growing up in suburbs...the bleakness of it, the angsty feelings that come along with it all...It was music that matched many of feelings at the time, and that in itself was a good feeling. Fast forward to 2013 when Reflektor dropped. I was living in Northern Alberta and working my first ever radio job. Arcade Fire was back stoking my imagination...songs about the afterlife, Greek mythology, love, and loss. Once again...music that made me think. To wrap up, I love tunes about bulls*** as much as the next person...love riffs and loud drums...but you always have to appreciate the rock artists the kick open those doors in your mind and imagination...such as Pink Floyd, The Hip, The Boss...and Yes, Arcade Fire.
Tonight, ten years after seeing them join the Boss on stage in Ottawa, Arcade Fire are rolling into Calgary on their 'Everything Now' Tour.
-Lew MacDonald 10/12/2017