Saturday, Sept. 15, Zilker park
Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Sept. 21, 2007
Montreal's pop orchestra appeared at their sophomore Austin City Limits Music Festival riding high. The Merge recording artists are David Bowie and U2 faves, and the te-piece ensemble taped an ACL TV segment the day before their stage-closing festival set. Like Pavlov's dogs, fans slobbered. And not because founding members Win and William Butler hail from the Houston area. "Black Mirror," kicking off this year's decidedly non-sophomore-slump, Neon Bible, primed an already dripping pump from which there was no ebb until houselights washed up after the sole encore, "Wake Up," from their near-perfect 2004 debut, Funeral. Régine Chassagne, founding member and Win Butler's soulmate, was MVP – lead vox, trap drums, hurdy-gurdy, keyboard, accordion, glockenspiel, and found percussion. This is one of Arcade Fire's strengths: Every member plays everything. And somehow it all works, and works to singular effect. Sampling equally from both albums, the midset 1-2-3 of "No Cars Go," "In the Backseat," and "Intervention" (dedicated to Gov. Bush) was perfect. Merci beaucoup, mes amis. Ne soyez pas des étrangers.