Arcade Fire by Jason Tang
If Arcade Fire were a fast food cheeseburger the Montreal octet
would definitely be a Dick’s Deluxe, and in my book that’s
not a bad thing.
You see in the faux band-burger hierarchy three distinct
categories exist. There are the McDonald’s of the world. Think of
them as burgers that are serviceable but can be easily
replicated. In band terms acts like The New Pornographers and The
Heavy fit the description. These are bands that are good live and
on record, but if you see enough shows (or eat enough burgers) they
don’t stand out much in the long run.
Then there are the Red Mills of the world. The cream of the
crop. Arguably the best fast food burger in Seattle. It’s a
burger you never forget. Bands like Radiohead, U2 and Springsteen
are Red Mill burgers in this tasty analogy. When you witness any of
these bands live it’s an experience
you’ll remember forever no matter how many shows you
Somewhere in between Redmill and McDonald’s lies the
Deluxe. Now the Dick’s Deluxe is a damn good burger. It blows
McDonald’s out of the water. Anyone who attempts to argue a McD’s
patty is superior to anything on Dick’s menu is clearly a few
McNuggets short of a 10-piece.
So how does Arcade Fire merit a Dick’s Deluxe rating? They put
on a show you definitely remember, but it
isn’t necessarily the best show you will ever see. A few
other burgers, um I mean bands, I’d classify as Dick’s Deluxes are
Muse, the Flaming Lips and my beloved Pearl Jam. These aren’t the
biggest bands in the world but when you see them live they
deliver shows that are worth well above the price of
Now I’ve probably seen more bands live than I’ve consumed
burgers, and Arcade Fire’s life-affirming 90-minute set made for a
damn delicious burger I won’t soon forget, but it wasn’t quite up
to Red Mill standards.
So why start off a review of a band many critics consider to be
the voice of a generation by comparing them to a cheeseburger?
Because many of the band’s detractors claim the group takes itself
too seriously and I figure a lighthearted approach would be the
best route to take when attempting to tackle Arcade Fire’s many
complexities and my somewhat still mixed feelings about the group.