Gig review: Arcade Fire @ MEN Arena, Manchester

By Jack Travers

Arcade Fire yet again proved they are amongst the very best bands in the world as they wowed Manchester’s MEN Arena last night.

The alternative Canadians’ energetic 90-minute performance was out of the very top drawer and they certainly deserve their standing as the indie rock band of the moment. 

They sound superb live, as they do in the studio, and tracks like Rococo from most recent album The Suburbs transferred beautifully onto the stage while well known hits such as Wake Up are stadium/festival classics already.

Arcade Fire are not your regular rock outfit. For starters, there are eight of them, led by the husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. There are drums of all varieties, violins, accordions and more, all working together to produce a sound often imitated but rarely reproduced.

The 2011 Grammy winners (Album of the Year for The Suburbs) also have that priceless asset – stage presence, obviously a key component for any big touring band.

Bounding around the MEN stage for an hour and a half and dishing out a 17-song set certainly gave their fans value for money.

Speaking of money, £1 of each ticket also went to a Haitian charity which is close to the band’s heart – Chassagne’s parents emigrated from Haiti before she was born. Another nice touch from a band who manage to seamlessly combine edge with modesty.

The best received song of the night had to be Wake Up. The drum beat leading into the crowd chanting makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall and Butler made the most of it as he took his mic into the crowd.

One regret was that City With No Children was not played – an oversight to many as it is an excellent song and could have added to this excellent set list.

But, as you would expect of a band of Arcade Fire’s renown, each and every song they did choose was welcomed to cheers and roars from the packed house of 11,000.

Mountains Beyond Mountains, Keep The Car Running, Speaking in Tongues and more – it was a varied set which did what all good live shows should do – leave the crowd wanting more.

Even a well received encore of Rebellion (Lies) and The Suburbs could not quench the insatiable thirst of the audience who were treated to a masterclass. Long may Arcade Fire keep returning to Manchester.


Watch Arcade Fire play ‘Wake Up’ live at MEN Arena, Manchester here:

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