Arcade Fire and Spoon burn up Alpharetta

Live show review: Arcade Fire and Spoon at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA, 8/11/10

Arcade Fire have been approaching BBITW status ever since their second album, Neon Bible, was released in 2007 (BBITW = Biggest Band In The World). When their new offering, The Suburbs, debuted at number one, that status was cemented. For some time now, U2 and Bruce Springsteen have been looking over their collective shoulders. Ironically, Arcade Fire have been frequently compared to the two aforementioned artists. Quite a compliment.

So it was at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta (a somewhat swanky suburb itself of Atlanta) that Arcade Fire performed to thousands of serious fans. The serious fans know all the lyrics and sing along willingly. Leader Win Butler exclaimed to the crowd that Spoon was their favorite band. Of course, being label mates on Merge Records did not hurt that sentiment. It was quite the double bill and everyone got a two-for-one show.

He also informed fans that one dollar from each ticket would go directly to Haiti relief – just one more way AF is winning the hearts and minds of its fans. Plenty of great tunes were played from their debut Funeral and their follow up Neon Bible, including the terrific “Keep The Car Running,” “No Cars Go,” and “Intervention. ” But most of the evening saw the band performing nearly all of The Suburbs. Standouts included “Modern Man,” “Month Of May,” “Ready To Start,” “Rococco,” and many more.

Audience participation was mind-blowing and that only made for a better show. Win Butler and company have made a fantastic new record, and fortunately for us, know how to play it live. The show ended with Arcade Fire’s signature song from their first album. “Wake Up” is one of those anthems that is instantly hummable and never forgettable. What a way to end the night.

Spoon was also on their game on this evening. Although only playing 54 minutes, they lit up the stage and warmed up the crowd. They began with “Don’t Make Me A Target,” from 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Old and new tunes were performed: old being “I Turn My Camera On” and “Jonathan Fisk” and new being “Trouble Comes Running” and “Got Nuffin.”

Britt Daniel knows how to prime an audience. He has the songwriting chops, the cool raspy voice, and some wicked guitar licks. Their latest album, Transference, did very well, and returned them to the not-so-poppy days of gritty, raw music. This is another band that knows how to play live. Too bad it was only 54 minutes.

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