Arcade Fire win Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards!

What an evening. I’m sure some print newspaper is going to use the headline Win-Win so I’ll write it down here first. It really is, as Win said in his post award interview “the graduating class of 2011.”

I should first say, congratulations to the band. You made an album that was bigger than anyone expected. Finely crafted, it soared lyrically, musically and it had a ferocious energy live. It lived as an album and it’s very fitting that you won for “Album of the Year.” Bravo. Well deserved. It was a pleasure getting to know you personally through this record.

I took my mum to see one of Arcade Fire’s secret show in Toronto this past June. She was in town for two days only and I dragged her to see it with my best friend and my boyfriend. The band loved the Danforth Music Hall – a venue which, at present, stands locked and bankrupt – and they put on two “cash only last minute secret shows” to warm up themselves and their fans to their new album. I remember actually hearing Modern Man for the first time at their show. I remember thinking there was something new. It’s like that moment you notice someone or something has come into their own. It was a new (amazing) energy. I had been a fan since Funeral myself, but the new songs I was hearing (and no, even I hadn’t heard the recorded songs yet) were fresh, driven, tight and focused. It was a classic in the making.

As the months followed, Jian Ghomeshi from CBC Radio Q flew to Montreal and we did a more-than-sweaty interview in the Arcade Fire practice loft, the New York Times went on the road with the band (the photo was taken in Ottawa on the day of the Ottawa Bluesfest show), then, more shows, a hometown gig at the Osheaga festival in Montreal complete with fireworks in the sky and ping pong games with the UK Spin writer, and a relaxed outdoor gig on Toronto island (with openers Janelle Monae and The Sadies). I sent Ben Rayner from the Toronto Star to see them open their Boston show (he got to go to the aquarium with the boys). Many writers heard the record in my living room. Carl Wilson of the Globe and Mail wrote a beautiful piece on the band (which I saw cut out on my little brother’s wall just the other day.)We were scared to leak it, so we played it one on one.

There were other highlights too. Brent Hodge at CBC Radio 3 did a fantastic chat with Win about their work with Haiti and their million dollar support of the country. Watching the band’s two night stand get streamed live by youtube from Madison Square Garden (with Mr. Owen Pallett in the line-up too), seeing people react to a teenage nostagia as they plugged in their details into the Wilderness Downtown video, cover stories galore in their hometown of Montreal, Regine speaking passionately about Kanpe (the not-for-profit where she sits on the Board of Directors) on Tout le Monde en Parle, having lots of people, journalists and regulars tell me, very earnestly, that they loved the record – for the Springsteen clad Modern Man, for the electro groove of Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) for Month of May, for Ready to Start.

And now, the record is for the world to discover. Hopefully, they will continue to be embraced. And for Canadians, they will see the band this March in Toronto for the 40th anniversary of the Juno Awards.

I have no more words. When they hired me, they said they liked the volunteer work on my CV. That was a huge compliment and I have to say, one of the nicest things I’ve heard in a while. I’m also very proud of people who do all they can to make great music and play it as much as possible. So, congrats again, Arcade Fire, for your Grammy. Well deserved, please take the time to soak it in, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.