The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

Reviewed by Austin Powell, May 6, 2011, Music

Arcade Fire, Explosions in the Sky

Backyard, May 3

"We call ourselves lucky," prefaced guitarist Munaf Rayani at a sold-out Backyard on Tuesday night. "Everyone else calls us Explosions in the Sky." Schmillion lucked out as well, the local teens landing this dream gig even if it was missed by most due to traffic and parking congestion. In the middle slot here, EITS was still adjusting to the new material of Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, the local quartet adding fifth member Carlos Torres on bass and drummer Christopher Hrasky donning headphones and triggering samples for the searing expanse of "Last Known Surroundings" and pensive lull of "Postcard From 1952." The pacing was off for an opening set – the band's patient swells demand a more captive audience (and a better mix) – but Explosions ended forcefully in the hammered-down climax of "Memorial." The evening felt like more of a homecoming for Arcade Fire, a compelling combination of triumphant resolve and casual asides, back-rolled by footage of Spike Jonze's locally shot Scenes From the Suburbs. The band's recent Grammy upset proved a crowning moment for indie rock, and the Montreal eightpiece filtered that white heat into turbulent opener "Month of May" and the ensuing staccato bounce of "Rebellion (Lies)." Frontman Win Butler commanded "We Used To Wait" from the front lines, driving home the connection between the neighborhood tunnels of Funeral and the outer-city-limits malaise of The Suburbs, the exception being a pairing of Neon Bible's gaslight anthems "Keep the Car Running" and "No Cars Go." Where the Wild Things Are rallying cry "Wake Up" sealed the encore even before Régine Chassagne's final streamers routine, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," but the proceeding "Ready To Start" added an unexpected twist, with an extended outro that sounded like a Franz Ferdinand remix – jagged guitars set to dark, electro rhythms. If Arcade Fire is this generation's U2, they're ready to take Berlin.

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