Arcade Fire live @ the SECC

Arcade Fire – SECC, Glasgow – 26th October 2007

Let me say at the outset – it could just be me being a miserable bastard. But tonight’s Arcade Fire gig in Glasgow was a disappointment.

I’d been moderately dreading the show because the venue doesn’t have a good reputation sound-wise. It shouldn’t therefore be a huge surprise that the sound tonight was, at best, little more than serviceable. But was that really just down to the venue? I kind of suspect not.

Firstly both supports sounded better than the headliners. Not brilliant but certainly clearer. Maybe that’s to be expected after all both Wild Light (awful name, btw chaps) and Clinic have far less complex set ups than the 10 piece headliners. But surely we have a right to expect to hear a band we’ve paid £30 to see sound at least half way decent?

The trouble is that the disparate instrumentation, which works so well on record seems simply chucked together in a live setting into, at times, something of an unholy din. You just can’t hear the horn or the trumpet, the keyboards or the violins, hell, even the guitars, in their own right at any point. And if the sound was barely better than serviceable by the end, there was no excuse for the fact that it was downright awful for the first 3 or 4 songs. In fact I could hear little more than drums and bass for the first 15 minutes and was totally bewildered by the euphoric reaction to each song. Was everyone just expecting dreadful sound and was just pleased to see the band whatever they sounded like? Or was it just my ears?

Enough moans about the sound (it did improve as the set progressed) but the show did little to change my mind on the ‘Neon Bible’ material which came over as decent but far from startling. For me the show didn’t really take off until the last few songs with both ‘Power Out’ and ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ sounding as good as at the Barras. ‘Intervention’ sounded right as the first encore rather than having to follow straight on behind the 2 previous songs and ‘Wake Up’ was the only song capable of rounding things off, although to be honest it didn’t pack the same punch this time around.

Disappointingly that was it but then they had really nothing else to play.

In conclusion, I very much doubt I’d be in a hurry to go and see them next time around, and certainly not at the SECC, unless the next LP is as good as ‘Funeral’. But I’m not holding my breath.

Earlier on, I missed most of Wild Light so can’t really pass comment (apart from the name). Clinic though were pretty decent but never quite managed to engage the audience. They played a lot of short songs but were perhaps best on the couple which had a bit of a groove. I may well try and find out a bit more about them.

A final Grumpy Old Man Grouch. This wee lassie next to me spent Clinic’s last song howling for them to finish. Ignorant, really. Young people, eh?

Arcade Fire setlist

1. Black Mirror 2. Keep The Car Running 3. Neighbourhood #2 (Laika) 4. No Cars Go 5. Haiti 6. My Body Is A Cage 7. Kiss Off (cover) 8. Ocean of Noise 9. Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) 10. Well In The Lighthouse 11. Headlights Are Like Diamonds 12. (Antichrist Television Blues) 13. Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) 14. Rebellion (Lies)

Encore

15. Intervention 16. Wake Up

The highlight of the set:

Arcade Fire – Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) (from ‘Funeral’)

Buy ‘Funeral’ and ‘Neon Bible’ here.

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