Sunday, March 11, 2007

Laborious description of personal gig experiences

The date for witnessing Arcade Fire at Manchester Apollo finally arrived on Friday evening, and what a magnificent spectacle it was. It's the first time I've seen them live, but they truly are an amazing live band. There was so much action on stage throughout, as you'd probably expect with ten people on there all playing so many different wonderful instruments. But actually, they don't just play them - it's more like they're dancing with them, and are all completely immersed in their own noise. It made for a real visual extravanganza.

The set was split about half-and-half between the two albums but the offerings from their first, Funeral, provided the main highlights for me. Especially Rebellion (Lies) and Wake Up, which was the closer. I don't think I've seen many gig crowds as delerious as that one during Wake Up. It was like a religious awakening with everyone throwing their hands in the air and praising the sky to all the "ohhh ohhhh" bits, like some scene from a particularly keen gospel church congregation. Jimi and Welford were just about ready to try out one of those walk-in baptismal fonts. That's how good Arcade Fire are live though - it's what they do to people.

Patrick Wolf was the support (I may have mentioned him previously), making for an extraordinary line-up. He was excellent of course and did what you'd almost be able to call a 'Greatest Hits' set. He seemed to go down quite well in front of a big crowd, which was encouraging, because it meant they weren't all ignoramii. But I was a bit surprised to hear from Jimi that The Magic Position only charted at number 46, considering all the publicity he's had recently. Although he's moved massively in the right direction commercially, I find it disappointing that the docile masses are still managing to be completely oblivious to such a rare talent in our midst. Before penning this, I read that the raw sales figure was only 4,500 copies in the first week. So to all those people I know who downloaded the album illegally and didn't purchase it on release; look what you've done you terrible people. Use it or lose it, as they say.

The previous night (Thursday) I had a gig date in Middlesbrough with Foz and Foz (The Two Fozes) to see Euros Childs, former frontman of Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. Lots of bubbly melodies, harmonies and Welsh language. It was really good. Plus he was supported by Ormondroyd, who are fronted by the brother of my friend Jen, so I was particularly interested to see what they were like. I remember her playing them to us in her halls of residence when we visited her during the first year of uni some four years ago. Then they got played by John Peel (R.I.P.), and have just put an album out. They offer some very good dreamy elongated rock stuff, in the mould of something like Six By Seven (at least, that's who they reminded me of). But they use a better mould.

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