Arriving at the Salsatheque last night was a surreal spectacle. Decked out floor to ceiling in neon lights and fake trees, the bar resembled an early eighties Palm Springs resort, but instead, hundreds of tourists were replaced by a couple dozen lucky Montrealers, who traded the hotel band for a performance by the most anticipated music to be released this fall.
Walking past a salsa dance class on the way upstairs, we could hear the sounds of an energized room in the distance. Approaching the door, it seemed low-key considering the stern warning by security that we would be removed from the venue if we let our phones leave our pockets.
We entered a small room, with an assortment of eclectic equipment filling half the space. Suddenly, we realized what was about to happen.
Arcade Fire played a short set of all new material. The show was unexpectedly dance-oriented, due to the upbeat rhythms of conga drums and electronic flourishes alongside their most poppy sounds.
Although the song lyrics shared the same themes as past releases, they traded their somber orchestral sound for something more contemporary.
Excited to share their new material on a lit disco floor stage, Arcade Fire captivated the audience as always. Each member switched instruments throughout the set, while dancing, shouting and inviting the crowd to join in. We responded accordingly, each of us dancing on the cramped floor, beneath the glow of dusty neon tubes.
The standout track featured various musical directions and sudden tempo changes, sandwiched between the boisterous repeated choruses of “Here comes the night”. Imagine the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”, but if David Bowie had written it while on vacation.
We’ll soon see if it’s the track they release September 9th, otherwise, we won’t hear it until late October with the release of their forthcoming album Reflektor.