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Arcade Fire at the Greek

Last night Kelly and I headed to Berkeley to check out one of her favorite bands, Arcade Fire, at the Greek Theater. While I'm not too familiar with their music, she's seen them a bunch of times at the various music festivals that go on across the country and loves them. And the Greek is such a great place to see a show, you're pretty much going to have a good time seeing anyone perform there.

In any event, the show was a lot of fun. The band is huge (at least 9 or 10 people by my count) and they have so much energy on stage that it's not hard to get caught up in it. Not knowing the music too well makes appreciating it kind of hard, so I couldn't tell you if they were "on" that night or not, but it seemed like they were.

One moment was particularly interesting for me though. After playing some of their new songs, the lead singer said to the crowd something to the effect of "time to play the hits." The crowd went crazy for the next few songs. Unfortunately, I never heard any of them. These are the hits? Why don't i know them?

I've written a bit on the music industry in the past. More knowledgeable commentators are folks like Bob Lefsetz, who has the great quote "the mainstream is a sideshow." Last night really showed me that it is. The music business is now about building an audience/ fan base through marketing mechanism other than the radio. Arcade Fire certainly has done that. Old folks like me who aren't tapped into that system get left behind.

It kind of reminds me of the old days of the Grateful Dead. Jerry and the boys never got much radio play and certainly weren't going platinum on their albums. Rather, through constant touring, word of mouth marketing from a passionate fan base (further enabled by authorized show taping, fan-made merchandising, etc.) they became the biggest touring act in the world. Perhaps, once again, they were really ahead of their time.

Crappy camera phone pic of Arcade Fire in action below:



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Comments (1)

Heh - now you and Fred Wilson share something else in common.

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