The ‘Sounds of the City’ gigs at Castlefield Bowl are arguably the finest few days in Manchester’s live music calendar and 2017 hasn’t failed to impress so far. Tonight, Canada’s Arcade Fire bring their carnival of insanely talented, genre-spanning musicians for a glorious romp through indie-rock, disco and even some panpipe-pop!
As singer Win Butler strides confidently through opener and new track ‘Everything Now’, we get a welcome a taste of the eagerly anticipated imminent fifth album. Next ‘Rebellion’, ‘No Cars Go’ and ‘Ready To Start’ set the pace, and it’s clear that this is going to be a rocket-fuelled set of storming back-catalogue anthems.
Whilst the crowd are packed in tight, and even some revellers in the apartment flats behind wave and dance on their balconies, mid-set highlights include ‘Here Comes the Night Time’ and synth-disco delight ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’. ‘Reflektor’ then notches up the disco vibe further before live belter ‘Power Out’ closes the set.
We’re then treated to two encores- the effortlessly timeless ‘Wake Up’ which never fails to ignite a mass singalong, and the calmer ‘Neon Bible’, which merges into Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ in a nod to the city’s inspirational musical heritage.
This was a rare opportunity to catch a headline-festival-like performance by an eternally uplifting band in a relatively small outdoor space. A brilliant gig in a (quite special) place where ‘no cars go’…
Words: Laura Johnson
Photos: Jon Mo/ @jonmophoto