Well, here we are. Arcade Fire has over its six years of billowing success become a high-water mark for independent music and a concept as much as a band, something to theoretically cross-sect or defend like a brother—a freak show to be watched and baited, a cultural attaché of emotionality and privileged mopiness. All this expectation and hubbub is due to the lush, inarguable beauty of their first record, Funeral; its orchestration and rock instrumentation was perfectly presented, a vision set and chased with a fire staunchly lit. Their subsequent releases have been met with polarization: preachy or poignant, disappointing or exultant. This is almost certainly expectation's fault—following up something like Funeral with something equally great is pretty much impossible, but by moving forward through the fire they've recently regressed back into the thing they maybe would like to have been the whole time: just a lovely band of talented, flawed people. With Calexico.
Wed., Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2010