“LA, You’re like that hot girl who is like, kinda cold sometimes, you know?” -Win Butler
This past Thursday I lived out every 16 year old indie girl’s and 38 year old pretentious music snob’s wildest fantasy: I touched Win Butler. I should back peddle a little bit first before I dive into that story.
This past Thursday 3 friends and I drove out to The Shrine Theater (I know right? Where?) We got there around 8, just in time to see the most legit saxophone player ever play a few part mind-boggling part spooky-as-hell tunes. We walk in and it’s this average sized man on this HUGE stage with this HUGE saxophone, just makin’ noises. Like, lots of noises. At once. With one saxophone. It was actually pretty fabulous, but rather odd. Also my friend and I were under the impression we’d be seeing Calexico open to Arcade Fire (seriously, what happened to that though?) so we were mildly disappointed. I ended up going to the bathroom and he was gone when I got back. It was time to wait for the main act.
I was never that huge of an Arcade Fire fan to be honest. I mean, I was into Laika, and Wake Up, and No Cars Go, etc, but I don’t think I ever listened to Funeral or Neon Bible just straight through before college. I know that’s pretty surprising, but I’m willing to admit it. I totally thought they were overrated. However, this spring when a few tracks from The Suburbs were trickling out on the internet I started to get super excited for the full album. And then I spent the whole summer driving around on suburban streets and empty highways blasting the CD with the windows down in my air condition-less 1993 Jeep (RIP). Some summer.
When an LA date was announced back in August I freaked out. I visited the website several times a day waiting for the presale date. But it never came. And then one morning they were just ONSALE and I clicked a link off twitter the minute it happened and managed to get orchestra seating, row 16. Higher powers were definitely involved in that stroke of luck.
Okay so we’re all sitting around in our plush seats, half the crowd still missing, when the band walks out. Everyone stands up, screams, claps, etc. My friend I was with happens to have the most high pitched cheer-scream in the world so I think everyone around us knew what was up immediately. “Ready To Start” was the first track, of course. And we were sooooo ready. My friend and I jump over the seats in front of us and scurry over the edge of the row, which was completely empty. This spot was ideal.
Now back to that touching-Win part… Month of May comes on next (one of my favorites from the album even though everyone else hates it) and I’m rockin’ out and chanting along, etc. All of a sudden Win jumps off stage and runs down the aisle. I’m not sure what took hold of me but I whispered to my friend “Wanna go for a walk?” and ran down the aisle to meet him. IT WAS AWESOME. No one even yelled at us, and no one else really did it. We applauded him and patted him on the back as he jumped on a chair. About 7 seconds later and got back on stage and I floated back to our spot. It was a pretty bizarre move on the bands part… coming out on the 2nd song like that, but I was down.
Somewhere throughout the next half hour of dancing and fist pounding we made friends (kinda) with these ladies behind us who kept cheering us on. Then the people whose seats were in arrived (really late, mind you) and we sort of have a mini heated discourse, end up moving, and then they tell us to just come back and take their spots, and then one of them gets mad about 10 minutes later and yell at us some more, and brings a security guard over and the guard could not give less of a shit so we just stay and he looks like a jerk. It worked out pretty nicely.
Highlights of the show for me were “Month of May,” “No Cars Go,” “Sprawl II,” “Modern Man,” “We Used to Wait,” and “Keep The Car Running,” but of course the whole show was nearly flawless… except for the sound being terrible for the first 2 songs, Win Butler forgetting the lyrics to debatably their most famous song, and the whole set being rearranged around fixing a guitar or something. Butler joked at the crowd towards the end, “Thanks for letting us be real amateur hacks.” In retrospect it was pretty messy, but at the time they made it work rather smoothly.
Régine danced around a lot, Will looked adorable beating a drum above his head, that one that looks like Shaun White was… there…. Win said silly Canadian things, etc. A bunch of us ran up and filled the aisles during the encore’s “Wake Up” and got pushed around a little by security. It was all lovely though.
Of course, it was still a seated concert, and it was in a huge auditorium. I can’t help but wish it was in some small general admission venue, because it’s just so much more intimate. I know that sounds typical and meaningless, but it’s insanely true for my concert experiencing. It’s never loud enough, you’re never moving with the crowd, and everyone is just so much more … together… when you’re all in the pit, fighting for the front row. That’s what concerts are supposed to be like. Long live the small venue!
…Although this was where the Oscars were hosted for like a decade so I basically peed where Whoopi Goldberg did once… or something…
Fabulous show, fabulous band. Here’s the setlist:
Ready to Start
Month of May
Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
No Cars Go
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
The Suburbs (Continued)
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Crown of Love
We Used to Wait
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Keep the Car Running
Reviewed by Ari Mygatt