Notes: Arcade Fire as The Reflektors @ Hollywood Palladium, October 31, 2013
Billing themselves as The Reflektors, their alternate identity throughout this massive promotional blitz for their new and fourth overall album, Arcade Fire wrapped their week of activity in Los Angeles with a festive Halloween night performance for a packed Hollywood Palladium.
With a local mariachi trio greeting the costumed attendees at the door, dim blacklights throughout and confetti debris already strewn about the dance floor (presumably from a testing of the canons that will later douse the audience during “Here comes the night”) the mood in the air was more nightclub than rock show.
The band, performing here as a ten-piece, newly augmented by a pair of Haitian percussionists, Diol and Tiwill, as well as the return of Owen Pallet and Sarah Neufeld on keys and violins, alongside the familiar core six of Richard, Tim, Will, Win, Jeremy and Regine, played a fourteen-song set, their longest yet of these initial small club shows.
Following show and album opener “Reflektor”–already a fan favorite and something of a mission statement for the “new” Arcade Fire (not to mention eerily prescient for its opening line “Trapped in a prism…”), Win’s first words to the crowd were the declaration “We’re not fucking around tonight!”, as they dove straight into “Power out,” setting a raucous mood out of the gate with a massive opening 1-2 punch.
Focusing on Reflektor, giving us nine of the double album’s fourteen tracks, they slipped in pleasing surprise inclusions of a cover of Devo’s seminal “Uncontrollable urge” (performed by Win donning his familiar big head mask, that head itself masked with a bandit’s mask; ponder these levels of masking for a second) and Arcade Fire “oldie”, “Headlights look like diamonds,” going way back to their initial e.p. release.
With the infusion of more rhythmic elements (the amount and newness of which has been exaggerated slightly; there’s always been a swing and stomp present, going back to Funeral) the band are energetic as ever. Win, the natural focal point, tonight in golden blazer, going pure frontman with microphone in hand for many numbers, was affable and effusive as ever. Regine, elicited screams from the girls with her simple arms up palms out gestures.
The good news is that the Reflektor tracks succeed as live arrangements when dialed back from the dense productions of recorded versions. Standouts were the dubby fun of “Flashbulb eyes,” “You already know,” with it’s Smiths-y walking bassline, and the next single, “Afterlife,” with it’s perky organ stabs and happy hi-hat groove. The only one that lumbered a bit live was “Joan of arc,” which for me didn’t quite yet nail the dynamics of the album version. “Here comes the night” is the natural main set-ender, it’s coda punctuated with showers of confetti onto the crowd. Following the show, a solid DJ set kept the party going, until, I’m told, just after midnight, after your reporter had to move his car from the Chase bank lot on Vine, lest he get yet another fucking parking ticket, Win himself came down down to the floor to spin a few discs.
NB: No photos from this show, so why not enjoy a gallery of attendees costumes by Vanity Fair outside the Palladium.