Coming this Friday to the Bay Area, the ten-piece Montreal rock monsters Arcade Fire are bigger and tighter than they were when they leveled the Greek Theater with a show that even the band remembers as being stellar. No small feat considering the hot act has played some 100 dates this year alone supporting their smash 2007 hit album 'Neon Bible'.
After an initial string of dates solidified the band's rep this year, promoters re-booked the band with bigger shows and their own lighting, sound, and road crew. They pull into San Francisco this week with LCD Soundsystem, but before then, Tim Kingsbury, multi-instrumentalist from Arcade Fire took some time to tell us what's up from the tour bus.
We talked about SF locals Deerhoof, the Austin City Limits festival, and pining for a Montreal autumn. Here are some excerpts.
By David Downs
ASD:Chuck Palahniuk says, 'the future you have tomorrow could be completely different that the future you think you have today.' Tell me about your expectations at the beginning of this year versus now.
Tim: “I sort of didn't have any. I don't know, it's sort of hard, just cus of touring. I didn't fully know what to expect. I knew we'd be playing a lot of shows, but it's kinda abstract to me. You sort of see a piece of paper and try and imagine what it'll be like, but it's always different. Then Win lost his voice for a little bit and had to have surgery early on in the summer that threw a wrench in it. The European festivals we played were hard, but cool too. I guess maybe I feel like it was little ... I feel more homesick than I ...
thought I would. It's really hard to really even remember the beginning of this year,” he says. “My wife is with me here for first part of the tour. That helps with the homesickness."
Tell us abut what people can expect from the show Friday.
Well, the set list hasn't changed too much. We haven't had time on this tour because we've been working out all the kinks. Now we have a new challenge -- playing much bigger venues and touring with a larger show. We have our own sound and lighting and PA and road crew, pretty much more crew at this point than we have had in the past. It's the first time there's more crew than band. We have the opportunity to play for more people and we're kind of taking advantage of it.
What's the ideal Arcade Fire venue?
I think we really kind of do well when we have a varied environment. We played on a TV show at the Austin City Limits festival and that was awesome. It was a pretty small studio with 2 or 300 people and the crowd was really into it. I like both big and small venues. We played the Greek Theater that was a really good show. It's really similar to the places we played in Italy, dug into the side of a hill. It's an amazing place and the way it's built with the flat part out front and then the hill, it sounds amazing.
So what was so exhausting about playing Europe?
It was just the same every single day. It rained a lot, a lot of festivals were full of mud, after a while of doing same thing over and over, it's not quite like doing your own show, you have less control sort of.
What you reading on the road?
I just started this sci-fi trilogy they're turning into movie: His Dark Materials kind of young adult sci-fi book, it kind of got me. I'm basically a sucker for whole Harry Potter franchise and I'm filling that void for the time being.
What you listening to?
I just sort of recently discovered Deerhoof. I was hoping that we could play with them some time really.
What's up with Win's throat?
Win's doing a lot better. He actually was having sinus infections, and he ended up being chronically sick for a while. He's been having them for long time and it caught up with him while attempting to sing a lot. He basically he lost his voice. He had polyps growing on his vocal chords, and they scrape your sinuses to remove extra tissue.
Christ. How do you stay healthy on the road?
Basically not eating too much junk and exercising. I think it's kind of cliché, but I think it's true. The first time you tour you sit around while traveling and backstage and it's pretty easy to fall out shape and your system gets weaker.
What do you for cardio?
I bike when I can. We play basketball.
What's the first song that comes into your head when I say, “San Francisco”?
Deerhoof's songs are pretty much the first thing that came to my head. And us. We have one line in 'Cold Wind' about San Francisco. I think it was sort of a takeoff of that '60s song.
Give us the quick day in the life of Tim.
I woke up here in Denver and my wife and I had breakfast with her aunt who's visiting at the hotel, then only on the bus for forty minutes, then we do soundcheck and then hang out till the show.
Cool, well see you Friday.
You going to be there?
You bet your ass.
(P.S. The SF Weekly Culture Blog 'All Shook Down' has 5 free tickets to Arcade Fire this Friday. First five commenters get them.)
Photo courtesy of Prefixmag