Arcade Fire

  • Review

NOS Alive, Lisbon, festival review

Radiohead and Arcade Fire rarely perform, but NOS Alive brought both mega bands to the stage to celebrate the festival's 10th birthday

What's that? It's a monster summer!

Brace yourself, because they’re going to be everywhere this summer – from the mutant creatures on our cinema screens to the music charts to giant arenas

The Killers, SECC, Glasgow

The Killers were always bound for arena-level stardom, one felt, thanks to their gold-dust blend of attractive pop choruses, a certain down to earth authenticity as unembellished alternarockers in the traditional vein and a true talent for sheer, unalloyed blandness where it’s really necessary.

The Diary: Kanye West; Joe Wright's Hanna; Arcade Fire; Glee star

We've had Anna Nicole, the opera, is Kanye West, the ballet next at the Royal Opera House? Tomorrow, the Royal Ballet soloist Kristen McNally will present a short piece based on West's last album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, at the Apple Store in London's Covent Garden. The piece, for two female dancers and three male, is set to a 12-minute mix of tracks with snippets of Mozart's Requiem (which features in West's video for "Runaway"). "I've pulled the album apart – there are so many instrumentals on it – and I've made my own little narrative", says McNally. The dancers – wearing pointe shoes and Kanye's signature shutter shades – will appear for half-hour slots at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm and will encourage shoppers to get involved with the choreography. "I'm making it quite interactive", says McNally. "I'm assuming most of the people there will never have set foot in the Royal Opera House and yet it's just around the corner". West himself is something of a recent ballet convert. His album artwork features a ballerina while the video for "Runaway" plays out as a 35-minute epic, with a full company of dancers in black tutus. When West performed the song on Saturday Night Live he was backed by a Swan Lake-style troupe. "I would love him to see it", says McNally, who recently danced on stage with Thirty Seconds to Mars at Brixton Academy, alongside Principal ballerina Lauren Cuthbertson. "I'm going get everyone in the shop to Tweet him and send him a video of the ballet. Maybe he'll invite us to dance with him at Coachella next week."

Arcade Fire, 02 Arena, London

I have seen Arcade Fire in a small church and in a packed Hackney Empire. Now they are bounding onstage at the O2 Arena as if born to the role. Their ascent has been rapid and has been all the more surprising given the peculiarity of their music, a bewildering panoply of strings and things. Significantly, they do not seem out of place here. As an octet, they are not dwarfed by a stage this size. The same applies to their sound.

Caught in the net: A pleasure to treasure

Last year's collaboration with Scarlett Johansson was probably more aesthetically pleasing, but music fans will likely be more excited by Pete Yorn's latest hook-up with Frank Black, aka Black Francis.

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Album: Alcoholic Faith Mission, Let This Be the Last Night...(Pony)

This Brooklyn band seem as interested in the accidental creaks that sliding fingers make between forming guitar chords as the chords themselves, and presumably also delight in the moments when the signal from a mercilessly punished musical instrument goes into the red.

Basia Bulat, Underbelly, Hoxton, London

The Underbelly, a tiny pub venue cushioned by draping red velvet, makes a snug performance space. However, without a raised stage, and with constant bar chatter with which to contend, it is not the ideal spot for a solo acoustic performer.

A flip of the Coyne: The Flaming Lips singer and 'nicest man in rock'

While others have self-destructed or fallen by the wayside, psychedelic pop visionaries the Flaming Lips are still going strong after 25 years. Their frontman Wayne Coyne tells Craig McLean why, if his band stick to natural highs, toys and fancy-dress costumes, they'll never turn into 'assholes' like Arcade Fire