Friday, September 21, 2007

Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl put together some excellent shows this year including Morrissey and The Decemberists. It would have been a better season if The Cure and Pet Shop Boys hadn't postponed and canceled. Arcade Fire and LCD soundsystem can be added to the list of excellent shows.

Gridlock was in full effect as I entered the Hollywood Bowl just as Pat Mahoney (Drums) started off with shuffling beat of "Us V Them". James Murphy (Vocals) thanked the crowd and told everyone that they rented the biggest disco ball they could find and he bought a new microphone stand. "Daft Punk Is Playing My House" was the proper encouragement to get some of the people out of their seats and start shaking their stuff. "Time To Get Away" accelerated the pace of the show and one could feel LCD Soundsystem picking up steam. I was curious to see if the LCD Soundsystem could surpass the energy of their previous El Rey Theatre show. The elastic spastic bassline of "North American Scum" finally enticed more patrons out of their seats with a portion of the front audience jumping along in unison. The electricity level was palpable at that moment and it was clear that LCD Soundsystem could rock the Hollywood Bowl. The urgently chiming piano keys contrasted with a propelling bass line of "All My Friends" forced you to move your body in time to the beat. LCD didn't not even give the audience a chance to catch their breath as they played "Tribulations". Most of Arcade Fire were rocking out a few feet to my left as they checked out most of LCD Soundsystem's set. They closed with "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" which had me thinking that Arcade Fire would have to dazzle me in order for me not to say that LCD Soundsystem stole the show.

Random tidbits of radio stations programs and television shows blasted from the speakers as the members of Arcade Fire stormed the stage. "Black Mirror" off their album "Neon Bible" was the first song to get the crowd off their feet as Win Butler (Vocals/Guitar/Bass) started to preach. Win has a commanding stage presence and I found myself still tracking Win versus the small army that they had onstage. The only instrument they didn't have onstage were the kitchen sink and a didjeridoo. I did spot a Moog Taurus which I haven't seen in a long time. "Keep The Car Running" was next and I started to believe I was going to hear the whole "Neon Bible" album in its entirety. The sound mix at the beginning of the show was a little off but did finally come together when the band soared into "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)". "No Cars Go" was epic with the violins and a mini accordion solo that dare I say rocked. "Haiti" was an excellent follow up featuring excellent background vocals and urgent violin work. The Arcade Fire continued to work through other songs "Intervention", "My Body Is A Cage", "Windowsill", "Ocean Of Noise" and Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels). The epic closing of "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and "Rebellion (Lies)" was a magical beyond words moment as a precursor to the encore of "The Well and The Lighthouse" and "Wake Up". I would have to say the battle between LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire was a draw but a victory for all those in attendance.

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