Arcade Fire debuted another unlikely cover tune during their Saturday night gig in Los Angeles, as the band broke out a funky take on the Beverly Hills Cop theme song, “Axel F.” As Consequence of Sound notes, frontman Win Butler introduced their version as “F Axel,” saying the track was “actually written about Axl Rose; people don’t realize that.”
Butler and company took a sprawling, organic approach, replicating the original synth lines with blasts of saxophone and violin before dissolving into a noise-rock jam. “Remember kids—stay in school,” Butler said, as the band transitioned into their own Reflektor rocker “Normal Person.” (The above clip ends with what sounds like a tease of Guns N’ Roses’ iconic riff-monster “Welcome to the Jungle.”)
“F Axel” is just the latest in Arcade Fire’s recent spree of live covers. In late July, the Canadian art-rockers took on the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic “Hey Tonight” during a California gig, with multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry channeling the lead howl of John Fogerty. The band previously delighted fans with covers of the Smith’s “London” (during, fittingly, a gig in London) and the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time” (during their tour kickoff in Louisville, Kentucky). A number of geographically themed tributes followed, including Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” (in St. Louis), Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” (in Kansas City, Missouri), Prince’s “Controversy” (in Minneapolis) and Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly” (in Philadelphia).
The latest North American leg of Arcade Fire’s lengthy Reflektor tour will continue throughout August. Opening acts for the jaunt include Devo, Spoon, the Unicorns, Owen Pallett, Television and tUnE-yArDs.