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Arcade Fire After Party At The Bootleg, Saturday August 2nd 2014

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Win Butler

Despite the late hour and a day already filled with concerts, I went to Arcade Fire after party, which started around midnight…. I was totally surprised I could have bought a ticket to be honest, the the Bootleg theater is a tiny place and I expected the thing to sell out in a few minutes, plus I didn’t really know what to expect, but everything went smooth and easy all night long.

So what did happen during this night? They let us enter in the large room and instruments were apparently set up on stage, supposedly ready for a concert. All I knew was that some members of Arcade Fire were supposed to become a cover band, but around midnight, Win Butler showed up, unrecognizable behind a skull mask and a cap. He settled down behind a small table with computer and knob machine, and gave us a real dance party as DJ Windows 98… well he was using a Mac, just saying! He kept his disguise for a while, but after 30 minutes dropped the mask,… anyway it was pitch-dark out there, so it was not easy to recognize him… I had brought my big camera and amazingly nobody had made any remark about it, and the fact that I was flashing my camera right into Win Butler’s face was even more surprising! Doesn’t he have usually a problem with photos? I know it wasn’t a real show but still! People seemed to have fun, dancing around the table, fascinated to be so close to Butler, and honestly he had the most casual attitude you could imagine, taking the mic to or also sipping from a small bottle behind his mask. A friendly young guy was talking to me just before Win Butler entered the room, he was giving me advices for my camera but when he noticed his presence (before me) he said ‘Oh shit, the singer of Arcade Fire is there’ and totally walked to the table as if nothing else existed anymore. I guess this can sum up the attitude of every kid in the room at this moment! They all were fascinated, but don’t ask me if Butler was a good DJ – honestly, he put on a great dance party, but I am not a very good judge when it comes to DJs. There were some funky tunes, some James Brown, Michael Jackson and Ghostbusters, plus more electronics and he was accompanied by the two Haitian drummers-percussionists who are part of the tour now.

Soon after, Win announced Festi, a short movie directed by Arcade Fire and ‘produced by someone famous’ he added, as if he didn’t want to even make the effort to remember the name. May be it was the late hour, as it was already around 1 am, but this film made absolutely no sense to me, it involved the spirit of Jim Morrison and had some references to ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Shining’, but I was amazed to see people around me laughing very hard…But the best was still to come, Phi Slamma Jamma, a cover band featuring Will Butler, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry took the stage to cover a medley of great rock and punk classics… and they were really smoking… having great fun with for example The Rolling Stones’ ‘The Last Time’, Neil Young’s ‘Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown’, The Everly Brothers’ ‘Bird Dog’, Devo’s Uncontrollable Urge’, and the Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ was a total riot. I am glad I was able to capture a few on camera (below)… when Arcade Fire breaks up, may be these guys have some future. Win Butler came on stage for the Stones and Beatles’ covers… what else could you ask for?

The night was not over as Win continued to spin some tunes till 3 am, and I appreciated the Bowie and Nirvana touch at the end of the night.. I almost forgot, there was also a piñata full of candies, so it was definitively a real party,… I left the theater with a handful of candies and sparkling confetti, hearing the security guard shouting ‘good night’ to the people talking and drinking, who were still not ready to leave…

Why does Arcade Fire even bother doing these after show parties? They are already the biggest band around at this moment! I didn’t see a lot of interactions between the fans and the band, a few had brought a CD to sign, some girls, who seemed to be part of the VIP crowd, were schmoozing with Win Butler, but beside this, the kids were keeping their distance, respecting the privacy, and I haven’t even seen one girl taking a selfie with Win! Oh well, at least he didn’t act like anything I have heard, plus it was a cheap way ($15) to party with Arcade Fire. Think what you want Arcade Fire, Win wins at the end.

More pictures here.

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