Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty One of rock's royal families has just gotten a…
- Posted on Sep 23rd 2011 1:20PM by Melody Lau
Graham Hughes, CP
With commemorative cups handed out at water stations and serious fans lining up at noon to get the best view, it was clear that the band's fellow Montrealers were coming out, full-force, to celebrate the recent Polaris Prize winners. By the time openers Kid Koala and 2010 Polaris winners Karkwa took the stage at places des Festivals of Quartier des Spectacle, the entire street was packed with bodies; some folks even resorted to climbing onto the ledges of buildings.
Kid Koala kicked off the party, warming the crowd up with an energetic DJ set that mixed classics like Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra with the White Stripes and Outkast. Dressed, fittingly, in a koala costume, the Montrealer won points for his bouncing-off-the-wall enthusiasm, not to mention his sentimental side when he prefaced one mix as his mother and daughter's favourite songs ('Moon River' and a Yo Gabba Gabba track, respectively).
Butler later expressed his love for the DJ, telling the crowd that he and wife-slash-bandmate Regine Chassagne once drove all the way down to Boston to see him open for Radiohead. "I didn't know how he did it then and I still don't know how he does it!" he said of Kid Koala's ability to scratch and mix records.
Butler and Co. pulled out their greatest hits, eliciting applause and excitement throughout their magical performance on a stage modeled after an old theater, with marquees sitting atop that proclaimed "Coming Soon, The Arcade Fire."
"Our hearts are very full," Butler proudly told the enamored audience. "Tonight just feels like the perfect night; it feels like home." It made sense, then, that the eight-piece would do their best to dazzle the hometown crowd. From the theatrical trailer that kicked things off to the light-up balls first unveiled at Coachella this year, the band busted out all their tricks.
During the brilliant encore featuring 'Rebellion (Lies),' Will Butler jumped on top of his keyboard and proceeded to wail on the drum kit -- Butler and bassist Richard Reed Parry are known for creating rhythms by banging on anything and everything -- but slipped when leaping off. Even the stumble didn't prevent him from smashing the kit around as the track climaxed, despite an obvious limp, highlighting Arcade Fire's unflappable spirit.
Whether this was their first, second or 15th time seeing Arcade Fire, locals were left with a sense of pride and triumph because Montreal can proudly lay claim to one of the world's biggest rock bands. They can also toast Quebec Francophone indie rockers Karkwa, who enraptured the crowd with cinematic anthems helping to set the tone for a night that will be long-celebrated by residents of la belle ville.