Concerts from Arcade Fire
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With eight members playing over a dozen different instruments, Montreal-based indie rock band Arcade Fire play a sprawling, anthem-filled form of modern indie rock - even when they used to tour small clubs, the band sounded as if it belonged in stadiums. Their sound is in a number of ways a precarious balancing act - the lyrics are often deeply personal and universal at the same time, and while 'ramshackle' and 'orchestral' shouldn't both work as descriptors of a band's sound, Arcade Fire's epic sprawl is often both of these. Since the beginning, Arcade Fire have augmented the standard-issue rock instruments with strings, horns, accordions, glockenspiels and xylophones. Their second and third album found the band experimenting more with synthesizers and electronic textures. 2010's "The Suburbs," a sprawling album about, appropriately enough, sprawl, was a major accomplishment for the group. It was received with near-universal acclaim, preferred by most critics over their sophomore album "Neon Bible" and by some over debut "Funeral." More surprisingly, the album was quite a commercial success, reaching #1 in the US on the Billboard album charts - a first not just for the band but for their record company, the small but well-respected indie label Merge. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, "The Suburbs" won the Album Of The Year award, beating out albums from Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum.