Arcade Fire, Alexandra Palace, London, November 2007
By the time they came back to London at the end of the year, after months of touring teh world, Arcade Fire were now ‘a very, very big band indeed’, And this meant playing in the vast Victorian brick beast known as ‘Ally Pally’. The bigger stage and the months to polish their act paid off, and what we looked at from the crowd was like a big black cathedral, dark curtains, weird deco style monitors on stalks, and all centred around a massive pipe organ. Actually, it looked mildy like one of those early fascist rallies - from the days when style was important, before things got out of hand. They delivered again. Naturally we were converts amongst a huge crowd of adoring fans, but the band put on a stunner again. There were even more of them than usual, with sme extra musicians up there to fill the sound out - 9 or 10 on stage? A lot goes on still - it’s a vibrant little scene as they all take turns swapping instruments (accordians, violins, guitars, hurdy gurdys) and vocal duties. Never a dull moment, even if Neon Bible is a somewhat drab album in places - my least favourite record of theirs. It actually felt too quiet at times - whether that was the levels of the PA being low in such a huge space, or just that sense you get sometimes that everyone is so in awe of a band that you could here people talking in amongst the worshippers. Still, right good evening. Pick of tunes from Neon Bible is the more up tempo ‘No Cars Go’ - lots of squeeze boxes on these guys’ songs, I really should hate them… I hate accordians. Yet, somehow they suck you in. Pompous. Arty. Epic. Baffling at times, but a pleasure to watch. Canadians are so nice.