Gig review: Arcade Fire as The Reflektors, Glasgow

Canadian indie-rock titans Arcade Fire
Canadian indie-rock titans Arcade Fire
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THIS promised to be one of the gigs of 2013 and duly obliged. Under the enigmatic billing of The Reflektors, it was a poorly kept secret that this was actually a night out in unusually intimate surrounds with Canadian indie-rock titans Arcade Fire – the obvious clue lying in the name of their new album Reflektor – and subsequently sold-out faster than anyone could ask “who’s that then?”

Arcade Fire as The Reflektors - Barrowland, Glasgow

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The band were flamboyant with frontman Win Butler in a paint-stains and patchwork suit, while his co-band-leader and wife Régine Chassagne rocked a retro-permed Dale-out-of-Flash-Gordon kinda look.

A set heavily skewed towards new material launched with the mutant disco of what else but Reflektor. The euphoric Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) was the only concession to the old in the first hour, between the steelpans coloured Flashbulb Eyes, the charging, trashy rock of Normal Person and the magnificent Afterlife – the perfect conflux of Arcade Fire’s current electro-disco direction and natural disposition towards stirring alternative anthemry.

With nearly a dozen musicians crammed onstage, among them two Haitian session percussionists – a nod to where the new album was made – the party mood threatened to literally spill off the stage.

An encore culminating with the roof-raising roar of Wake Up aptly capped a strange and singularly transporting show – one that felt like a band not merely promoting new material, but stepping outside of themselves a little to join fans in celebrating it.