Arcade Fire - Barclays Center - 8/24/14
Better than: Listening to Reflektor.
Credit: Emily Tan // See our slideshow of the concert
There was a moment when Arcade Fire began where I was convinced I was seeing the wrong band. Opening with the title track of their newest album Reflektor, it was hard to see the earnest accordion-playing art kids from Montreal under the shiny suits, blinding lights and glam motifs. I've fallen a bit off the Arcade Fire bandwagon since the release of The Suburbs - to me, and I suspect, many others, they will always be the band that wrote Funeral. Though it's obvious that winning a Grammy, no matter how few people had heard of you at the time, is a big fucking deal, seeing proof of Arcade Fire's success on such a massive scale was still breathtaking. Win Butler is now an actual rock star, and his army of bandmates are rightly confident in their ability to keep the crowd cheering for two hours straight. This is the dream of Win and Régine, I guess.
See also: Arcade Fire Opens Its Brooklyn Weekend
The Unicorns opened the evening, but it was disappointing to get so few songs from them. The hyperactive "Child Star" and noisy "Tuff Ghost" almost made up for it, as did watching kids who weren't alive when Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? was released cartwheel around the floor, which was a heartwarming sight. The following act, Television, confused everyone, including the band. Though all the acts acknowledged how honored they were to be playing with the legendary group, the audience seemed less than thrilled by them, overall. It made sense -- the twentysomethings dressed up as pandas and robots didn't come to see seminal punk music. They sounded great, and some Gen Xers in the crowd were definitely rocking out, but they didn't make sense on the bill and everyone knew it.
Dan Deacon, on the other hand, was a perfect opener for a crowd of strangely dressed people ready to party. Performing, as usual, from the center of the audience, and employing every flashing light known to man, his set was fucking awesome to say the least. His verbosity was charming and his patented crowd participation techniques went off without a hitch. Dividing the floor in half, he gave each side a leader whose actions they were to mirror. One of these was Joe Ahearn, former head of all ages show listings publication Showpaper and current curator of the Clocktower Gallery, who has been instrumental in Brooklyn venue Silent Barn. The other was Edan Wilber, the man in charge of long running Williamsburg DIY space Death By Audio. "Alright, we have Team Death By Audio and Team Showpaper," Deacon told the crowd bemusedly. "Whoever wins is going to take over Barclays. They're rebranding." It was a sweet tribute to Deacon's DIY bros, who have booked countless shows for him to significantly less massive Brooklyn audiences over the years.