NOVEMBER 12TH 2004. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSSETS. The word of mouth, or "buzz" surrounding Arcade Fire and their first album Funeral, released two months earlier, is at its climax. So much that the band's current tour, which was planified months earlier, is as much a success as it is a disaster : Win Butler, Régine Chassagne and consorts fill rooms every night, and in fact, the ramshakle places they play are obviously too narrow. On this end of Autumn night, in Massachussets, Bear's Place is no exception : the handkerchief-sized club is so packed it is impossible to move, every pore of every attendee create its own smell and achieve in making the air unbreathable. Without any dressing rooms or backstages, the band has to cross the hall to reach the stage, either by surfing on people's backs or by slipping through some legs. We can feel the tension. The attendance forms a wave of uniform flesh, sweat and excitment. Onstage, for a whole hour, the band stumbles, struggles, literally as well as metaphorically. All through "Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)", Richard Reed Parry, the rangy rust-haired multi-instrumentalist, wears a bike helmet which he uses as a percussion. He smashes his head against the walls, on the drum set, with a stick, so much that the inevitable occurs : he would finish the concert all bloody. But he would finish it.
This anecdote illustrates on its own the innocence of Arcade Fire's beginnings. These few months when, naked from the cynicism of its times, in a relative anonimity and undressed from rock'n'roll-style nihilism, everything seemed possible.