Volume: Arcade Fire/Okkervil River/Schmillion – Gexa Energy Pavilion – Dallas, TX 04/30/2011
“Who do you guys have next?” Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler asked? “The Lakers?” in reference to our Dallas Mavericks and the NBA Playoffs. “Good Luck with that” he quipped as the band immediately launched into the final song of their main set, Funeral‘s New Order inspired “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”.
I do not like to oversell an artist. Never have. But every band in the world, you are on notice. Arcade Fire is arguably (barely) the current best band in the world. Am I on an Arcade Fire high? Yes indeed. Their performance in Dallas last night is the thing music enthusiasts should clamor for, and every, EVERY, band should strive for.
I had seen them one other time, at ACL Festival 2007, while my girlfriend made the choice to watch Muse. And that show, on the Neon Bible tour, was fantastic. I knew what I was in for, yet last night I was reminded just how powerful this band is live, and made even better from closer than 75 yards away. They attack their music with a jubilant aggression that puts all others to shame, a joyful, confident display of musicianship and control, manipulating their audience with every note and stage movement. Win Butler’s calm center is the perfect focal point for the whirling dervish of action taking place all around him, from manic multi-instrumentalists traipsing and stalking the stage to the to and fro actions of the string players. Needless to say, after last night, my girlfriend was rethinking her decision to see Muse.
By the time the swelling finale of Funeral’s “Wake Up” hit the audience, we had witnessed an almost 90 minute juggernaut non-stop show. Thousand of voices in unison, arms raised, singing along with the most moving track from a band full of these. This was certainly a suiting denouement and passionate bloodletting to conclude an already emotional performance.
That band sleeps well at night, I can assure this.
Austin’s indie giants Okkervil River and all female Schmillion opened. If one was thinking there was a full blown 90’s revival going on, you are dead right. Schmillion are taking over the Riot Grrl segment of that decade with great stride, even down to the hair and babydoll dresses of Babe’s In Toyland’s Kat Bjelland. Okkervil River, on the other hand, are one of the brightest acts on the indie rock circuit preparing to release their seventh proper full length album, I Am Very Far. If these guys didn’t expand their fan base last night, I do not know how. Their tight set was well received and overly enjoyable. I wish they were on every show of this tour as they were a wonderful organic complement to Arcade Fire’s lush, thick anthem driven repertoire.
Arcade Fire Setlist:
Ready To Start
Keep The Car Running
Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
Sprawl I (Flatland)
Month of May
No Cars Go
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
We Used To Wait
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)