Upon seeing Arcade Fire live in Los Angeles, one thing is for sure: Win Butler kind of hates LA. 

The Quebecer gang of masterful musicians hit the historic Shrine Auditorium on Thursday October 7 for the first of two consecutive nights in the midst of their tour supporting new album The Suburbs and FYM's Los Angeles senior correspondent was the closest person to the band who wasn't actually standing somewhere on stage (there were several people the same distance away from them, but since I was the tallest, I was the closest). 

Arcade Fire's touring saxophonist, Colin Stetson, opened the show solo and was kind enough to give For Young Moderns a quick interview. We'll give Colin's interview and set coverage in its own story hopefully tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

The first thing out of Butler's mouth after wrapping up the second song of the set, The Suburbs' "Month of May", was his comparison of Los Angeles to that very attractive girl you know who gives you the silent treatment and you're never quite sure if she likes you or not. It's hard to imagine anybody thinking that the people of a city who fill up the notably large Shrine Auditorium for you would attend that concert, shrug "meh", and not like what they're witnessing. But then again, that is something that a Los Angeles crowd would do, sadly. However, on Thursday night the crowd seemed very much into the whole show. During a particularly vibrant performance of Funeral's "Haiti", Regine Chassagne seemed to peer out into the crowd in disappointed fashion acknowledging the lack of movement within the crowd, though it may have easily been because of the lyrical heaviness of the song at hand.

At the conclusion of the performance of The Suburb's "Modern Man", Butler mimicked people in the crowd being distracted by their touch-screen cellphones, flipping through pages of information and apparently not paying attention to the music before them. It seemed a little harsh of a statement (even though FYM was guilty of doing this a few times throughout the set -- but with good reason), and it's not like Butler has seen these actions before at Arcade Fire concerts. Sharing social experiences such as concert-going at breakneck speeds thanks to mobile phones is more of a natural zeitgeist phenomenon and less of a bad habit, and mocking it isn't making much of a statement. 

I can almost guarantee that the majority of people on their phones were quickly sharing their experience of the concert with friend and not checking the score of the day's preseason Lakers game.

Speaking of the day's preseason Lakers game, at one point Butler intentionally incited jeers from the crowd by declaring that he was pleased to hear that Barcelona had defeated the Lakers that day even though it was a "meaningless preseason game." It's quite a ballsy move to incite booing from a crowd in a city that can be unpredictable at times, but Butler backs up his confidence and pompous attitude with his band's amazing music. One second he is making the crowd boo him, and the next he is leading thousands of the same people in a passionate sing-a-long of "Wake Up" or "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)". To paraphrase Kanye West, Butler has earned the right to be a little bit snobbish after releasing a downright historic debut album followed by two excellent follow-ups.

Hardly any other bands around today can match Arcade Fire's energy on stage (and off stage, as several good chunks of the concert took place within the crowd after Butler left the stage and headed into the orchestra seating) and this is as well known as a fact as how everyone knows how amazing the band's albums are. So, For Young Moderns doesn't really need to let you know how incredible the concert was; you already know this. We'll just let the pictures we took in the very front row do the talking. 


(All photos by Will Sellers; click on each image to enlarge):

Bonus: FYM also captured a video of the performance of "Haiti" on a Droid X. It looks great, but the sound is busted at times. I blame being so close to the stage and the concert being too awesome for modern technology:


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