The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, January 31, 2005
TUL's Take: The Arcade Fire @ 9:30 Club Included Edition!

It doesn't take much thought to go on the record and say that this weekend far exceeded last week's, maybe that's because my life wasn't in any sort of danger a la last week from Sunday night's road rage Beltway altercation. Friday night I went over to R's apt in Van Ness and finally watched Saved! Overall, it was an enjoyable movie and very well cast. Even though the only other movie TUL has seen Jena Malone in was Donnie Darko, she put on a great performance and needs to start getting some more roles in bigger movies.

I had to come into work Saturday which I could complain about, but the fact I was acquiring overtime canceled it out. That evening, a few of us came to my apartment before going to Adams Mill in Adams Morgan for the night. When we made our way inside it was so congested that I wanted to immediately go to another bar as the intense level of pushing occurring all around me was reaching the boiling point. We went upstairs where there was actually room for me to make more than a five degree turn without jabbing my shoulder into some short girl's head. After we were able to find some decent space it turned out be to quite a fun night. Everyone got a little inebriated which made for quite an interesting taxi ride home. While TUL was intermittently passing out in the back seat, the taxi driver and the rest of our group were engaging in some sort of conversation that I really can't seem to quote.

Sunday night I went over to C's apartment and watched the Terps take on Georgia Tech back in the friendly confines of Comcast Center after last Wednesday's amazing upset over Duke. Though there wasn't as much hype revolving around this matchup compared to Wednesday's huge win, the momentum going into the game was strong as they were able to come out on top once again. TUL is eagerly waiting for the polls later to be released today in order to see if Maryland will be reentering the Top 25 this week after defeating not one, but two ranked opponents.

After the game, we drove over to the 9:30 Club for the extremely anticipated, overblogged, well-hyped machine known as The Arcade Fire. I was going to write a separate piece about this, but The Upstate Life is going unorthodox on your ass and integrating TUL's Take right into the Weekend Wrapup. That's two features in one post readers, let the blogging overload commence.

We arrived early enough to get a good position to the right of the stage, coincidentally right next to DCist's Catherine who TUL met for the first time after recognizing her from their staff page. Ah yes, the power of blogging. Final Fantasy, who was actually just a dude by the name of Owen Pallett (of The Hidden Cameras), opened the night and we were underway. He was a one-man act with violin and pedal looping effects, basically an indie version of Howie Day sans the ironic blazer. He was pretty good, nothing really amazing, but a unique opener to say the least. Owen played a handful of songs, the last of which was supported by the drummer of The Arcade Fire. I noticed some of the members from the band were perched around the VIP balcony above the stage during his set too, looking on and supporting their fellow Canadian.

At around 10pm, The Arcade Fire took the stage and opened the show up with an explosive rendition of "Wake Up". They raised the bar incredibly high as soon as they began, and it would only go up even further throughout the rest of the show. Eight members were onstage in what could be described as the epitome of an ensemble effort. Not only were some of the members making a percussion instrument out of anything they could lie their eyes on, but the two violinists (one of which was Owen) at the right of the stage were singing along despite the fact they weren't even miked. They then right went into "Laika" which was so good words can't describe it. The guitarist that looks like Napoleon Dynamite switched from his electric guitar to an accordion right in the middle of the song. Come to think of it, he played more than four instruments through the show which included an upright bass and some sort of Casio harmonica device. Again, Will (who was able to miss class at Northwestern for the tour) was erratically beating on any sort of object he could find including the club's floor, the motorcycle helmet he was donning, and even scaling the walls in order to bang his drumsticks on the balcony gates.

You could easily tell everyone up there was having a blast and it shown through their music as it was so energetic. Much to TUL's delight, the group performed "Headlights Look Like Diamonds" and "No Cars Go" from their EP which sounded terrific, obvs. The band also introduced the DC audience to two new songs titled "Intervention" and "Burning Bridges", both of which The Upstate Life enjoyed and will clearly have to scour the Internerd for future listening purposes. One interesting thing to point out was how taken away the crowd was by the band. Between each song it was so quite you could literally hear someone lay down a Stella bottle on the bar. Win said "this is one of the most polite crowds we've had on this tour, and that's got to stop." The group then begins to play "Power Out" and the place erupts! It was part one of two of their on-stage medley, segueing to "Rebellion (Lies)" with everyone in the audience contributing to the "Whoa-oh Whoa-oh" backup.

The last song of their encore, "In The Back Seat", was literally breathtaking. Regine poured her heart out during the song and was a definitive closer for possibly one of the best concerts I've attended, period. The dramatic finish left the audience captivated, several members leaving the stage single file, others going through the crowd back to their dressing room, all while still performing! If they were an auction on eBay, my feedback would consist of "Excellent, A+++++++++, highly recommended, thank you!!" I've never encountered a band that put on such an incredible show visually as well as musically. If anyone out there has an accurate setlist that would be awesome as TUL is kind of lacking in the short-term memory department.

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