This year saw the release of two solo albums by artists of Arcade Fire fame. Will Butler's Generations and Jeremy Gara's experimental Passerine Finale both landed this summer...and it got us to thinking about how magical a meeting Arcade Fire really is.
This is a band who create an unrivalled, life-affirming experience when they play live: a guaranteed 2-hour grin. They're are also masters of creating moments that will stay with you.
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We’ve been lucky enough to see Arcade Fire live a handful of times and the thrills hit you in many different ways:
- Hearing your best pals harmonising on the “ah-ahs” during festival set-closer 'Wake Up', each with idiotic smiles on their faces.
- Closing the main set with 'Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)' segueing into 'Rebellion (Lies)'. As the former fades and the line “sleeping is giving in” arrives, seeing the person you love most in the world beaming as we join the band in a mass singalong.
- During 'No Cars Go', as the intro turns into the real and 7 band members step forward in unison for a combined “Hey”, triggering 5 minutes of exuberance. The only people who look as if they are enjoying it more than the crowd are Jeremy and Richard, who often take on responsibility for drums and keyboards for this track.
It’s not rare for Arcade Fire - or even live music - but seeing 5-plus members of your favourite live band stride forward in unison, knowing that they are about to impart happiness onto you and everyone around you is a truly glorious thing.
Being part of Arcade Fire must make the release of solo work by the band an intimidating prospect. Still, they manage it. Will Butler's Generations invokes The xx, The Strokes, Gaslight Anthem and Oasis, while if you prefer Kid A to The Bends, you may well enjoy Jeremy Gara's Passerine Finale.
It's clear though, that the real power of Arcade Fire comes from their collective creativity. These two albums alone show very different approaches by two of the band's members: while Butler puts his own spin on things and creates an excellent and recognisable album, Jeremy departs completely from the band’s sound and creates a soundscape all his own.
Listening to them and their diverse approaches, you gain only some access into the talent and creativity that exists within Arcade Fire. And though we're without live gigs for the forseeable future, there will be a time when it returns again. We can only hope that Jeremy and Will will come together with the rest of the band again to showcase their combined skills - and soundtrack a million more memories.