Arcade Fire plays American Airlines Center on Thursday, Sept. 28.
Will Butler and his brother Win left the Lone Star State a long time ago for Montreal, where they formed Arcade Fire. The Butlers grew up in the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, a city built in a large forest north of downtown, so playing Texas means a lot to them.
They say Hurricane Harvey jogged some nostalgia because Will vividly remembers living through a flood in the early ’90s. “We went to church on Sunday and everyone wore their work clothes,” he tells the Dallas Observer from a tour stop in Tampa, Florida. “Then we went out and helped people move their pianos up to the second floor. Afterwards, we used sledgehammers to help people knock out their rotting drywall.”
Will and Win’s parents relocated to Maine 10 years ago, but they have friends who were affected by Harvey. At all of Arcade Fire's recent shows, the band has dedicated its performance of “The Suburbs” to Houston. “It felt very meaningful,” Will says.
Arcade Fire’s ascent to indie rock legend began soon after the release of its 2004 debut, Funeral. Critics and fans took to a sound that blended folk with the influence of New Order.
When Arcade Fire visited Dallas for first time, it sold out Trees. Now it's playing arenas across the country in support of its latest release, Everything Now. “I’m so pleased and feel so lucky and am very thankful for what we’re doing,” Will says. “I’m kinda neither surprised nor unsurprised. The music we're playing I think is pretty good, and people like it.”
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The band recently had its first major radio hit, the title track from Everything Now, and Will is grateful for that timing. “Before that, it was nothing,” he says. “That’s how you want it. People are coming for every song. It’s really beautiful.”
The stage setup for this tour is what makes it special. The stage is in the middle of the arena floor — similar to what Metallica did in the early ’90s. “It brings a real intimacy to the show,” Will says. “Everyone’s so close. When you’re in the middle of the arena, even the opening band has, basically, a full floor in front of them. It feels really great.”
The show is meant to be a celebration even in dark times. “I think where the lyrical content is dark, music in its intrinsic nature is so creative, it’s putting pieces together,” Will says. “It’s speaking a language with the lyrics. The music is very affirming by the vitality that it has.”
Arcade Fire with Wolf Parade, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., ticketmaster.com, $20 and up.