We used to talk about the separation of church and state more frantically, but one thing that continues to brazenly surround and envelop those two concepts is our luminous, better-not-question-it economic system.
Never mind holy capitalism itself, one single cell phone brand holds more sway than most religions — and we’re all too wearily familiar with a certain businessman’s advertorial takeover of the most powerful nation on earth.
Even before Wednesday night’s Arcade Fire show began, the 9,000-strong crowd was presented on the thin, LED ribbon screen inside the downtown arena a number of enigmatic brand logos — a cursive capital L, a tongue with an asterisk on it, a slick Möbius strip — as a faceless cowboy huckstered us into the show on screen. Clearly, we were being asked to think about our world (while simultaneously poked by said cowboy to buy T-shirts).
Arcade Fire’s current tour is called Infinite Content, its accompanying album Everything Now, and together they continued in a cheerful and singalong way the band’s subtly dystopian worldview in a show where the visuals and satirical concepts were as strong as the music itself, down to an ad for a pointless USB fidget spinner and the band’s branded baseball team activewear.
Nine strong, Arcade Fire is fronted by singers Win Butler and his wife Régine Chassagne, who walking through the crowd with the group like contenders took turns shining under a stage placed centrally on the floor as a boxing ring, ropes included. Through the dazzling lightshow, every band member shifted positions, Butler particularly needing the squirt bottle as he climbed up on plinths and piano alike, centre stage being a lazy Susan upon which he rotated like a trophy.
A dance party churning around them all night, the Fire opened with the new Everything Now and Signs of Life, dispensing one of their biggies quickly with Rebellion (Lies) — one of five songs extending into the audience cooing along past the…