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Following a pair of stellar headlining performances at Coachella over the last two weekends, on Monday night Arcade Fire played a semi-secret show at tiny club Roxy (capacity: 500) on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. In attendance were radio contest winners and superfans who posted photos of the band on their Facebook pages.
Part of the performance will be broadcast during the upcoming iHeartRadio Awards.
Frontman Win Butler acted like a ringleader for the night, first hobnobbing with fans waiting in line outside the venue, addressing them on a megaphone and promising one early arrival that he’d help her get in. “These bouncers are nice,” the frontman said.
Once inside, everyone crammed to the front as music played over the venue’s speakers, and fans — including Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul, who tweeted at the band asking for tickets to the show in exchange for pizza, a promise that he, er, delivered on, arriving with pie in tow — realized that Butler was DJing from a booth at the back of the theater, playing everything from David Bowie‘s “Fame” to a remix of the band’s own “Afterlife.”
The show itself began with a high-energy set from the band’s sort-of-punk side project, Phi Slamma Jamma, made up mostly of members of Arcade Fire as well as Her soundtrack collaborator Owen Pallett. That band played through the Ramones’ “Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World” and “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement” as Arcade Fire members took the stage one by one, Stop Making Sense-style, until Butler completed the group for a heavy run-through of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.”
A truncated Arcade Fire set followed, consisting mostly of songs from the band’s most recent album, Reflektor — the weirdo anthem “Normal Person,” the rowdy “Month of May” and “You Already Know,” and the dancey “We Exist,” as well as a retread of their Coachella weekend 2 Prince cover, “Controversy.” “Here Comes The Night Time,” the band’s Haitian-inspired anthem, this night played in near-total darkness.
Attendees were discouraged from taking photos, texting or tweeting, though that didn’t stop some humblebraggers on social media.
Following a do-over of “Normal Person” for the cameras, Butler returned to the DJ booth — and the dance floor, slow-dancing with a few fans, including that girl he promised to help get in.
With reporting by Claudia Gonzalez
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