Castlefield Bowl - MIF/Sounds Of The City
Arcade Fire made a heroic return to Manchester after six long years with a set full of classic anthems, moving tributes and some fantastic new material.
It’s been a long time since Arcade Fire brought their indie rock anthems to Manchester, finally after six long years they’ve made their return. Unsurprisingly last month’s tragic events still loom large over every event in Manchester, Arcade Fire however embrace everyone’s differences, they stand for everything that terrorists hate which is love, peace and accepting others, this is clearly a special and emotional night and as Win defiantly tells the audience “We’re not fucking scared,” and “Thank you being such an inspiration to the rest of the world. God bless you, Manchester.” you know it’s honest and it’s coming for the heart and what follows is a very special night.
Never have I seen a crowd as passionate as tonight, Arcade Fire have an intense bond with their fans, which is immediately present from the moment the band stride out on to the stage and every single word to their brand new song is screamed back to them. “Everything Now” the album isn’t out for another couple of weeks but the singles have already proven to be extremely popular with fans and music critics alike, the title track is a mix between traditional pan pipers and ABBA, and yes it works! even more so live.
They then immediately launch into first album classic “Rebellion (Lies)” and I’m struggling to put into words the euphoria that swept over the crowd, it felt like suddenly the audience went to 150%, joyous bouncing and mass singalong ensued while arms were throw round strangers, All this and it was only the second track.
“Here Comes The Nighttime” kept the good times rolling, the carnival style track mixing in beautifully with the setting sun, Latest single “Signs Of Life” fits into the catalogue and setlist tonight almost seamlessly, it’s eighties pop at it’s best and most strangest, your just left expecting Mulder and Scully to pop up on stage with it’s extraterrestrial vibes, the other new track to make an appearance is the disturbingly dark yet infectious “Creature Comforts” it’ll have you singing along to lyrics of self-harm and suicide, twisted but brilliant.
Sandwiched between those is an array of greatest hits from the Montreal band, with four albums to look back on it was certainly going to be hard to find that perfect balance, Somehow the band manage this and then some, tonights track choices are inspired, it’s fitting that it’s their most uplifting and defiant songs that get played tonight, “No Cars Go”, “Ready To Start” and “Tunnels” provide just a few of the spectacular live moments the night is scattered with, each of these songs see’s the rampant fan base roar alongside each “oooooh” and chorus.
Even the quieter moments bring the crowd together in unified harmony, “The Suburbs” will always provide the most beautiful ending to a live track, that of course is the case again tonight as “Sometimes I can’t believe it, i’m moving past the feeling again” echoes into the night sky, even rare songs like “Intervention” and “Neon Bible” provide beautiful and timid moments, with Arcade Fire even in the intimate moments they somehow manage to captivate you and draw you in.
A special shout out has to go to the hyperactive smoke machine however, when it came to “Power Out” I’m pretty sure the entire crowd was engulfed, intentional or not it only managed to last one song but didn’t half create one hell of an atmosphere, the shadows of the band intermittently lit up with the strobes creating an almost rave like scenario. The whole of the group, especially Win however seem completely in awe of the Mancunian reception they receive tonight, in return the crowd are treated to two separate encores and from what it seems some additional unplanned songs such as “We Exist” manage to get sneaked in.
“Wake Up” will forever be one of the best and most joyous moments of live indie music you can ever truly experience and tonight it seems to sweep the crowd up in more emotion than ever, just as the crowd seemingly believe it’s all over the band return for the aforementioned “Neon Bible”. Manchester got a little extra surprise however, as the last notes started to drift off, a familiar melody appeared as Win burst into a melancholic and stripped back version of Joy Divisions “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and in that moment I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt overwhelmed and a little choked up.
A truly beautiful night, Thank you! Arcade Fire.