Arcade Fire have discovered the secret to getting a live crowd in their corner: playing a cover song geographically connected to that particular city. On Sunday night, the bobblehead-loving art-rockers took their Reflektor tour through St. Louis, Missouri and honored the occasion by playing “Roll Over Beethoven,” a tribute to the city’s hometown rock icon, Chuck Berry.
Even listening with smartphone fidelity, their spirited take is impressive: Multi-instrumentalist Will Butler handles lead vocals, bouncing around the stage as the band weaves in sawing violin lines, a honky sax solo and a percussive breakdown, before climaxing with an emphatic group shout-along.
Elsewhere in the tour, Arcade Fire have paid tribute to other musical giants: They tackled Prince’s “Controversy” for a crowd in Minneapolis and Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly” for Philadelphia fans. Their strangest choice came this past Saturday, covering Kansas’ epic 1977 rock ballad “Dust in the Wind” – while in Kansas City, Missouri. “Guys, that was really beautiful, but that’s a Kansas song, and we’re in fuckin’ Missouri,” said frontman Win Butler following the performance. “That’s gonna kill when we play Lawrence, though.”
The St. Louis show also featured an update in the puzzling “beef” between Arcade Fire and EDM star deadmau5. Last week, the electronic artist let loose with a rambling Twitter rant against the band, following Arcade Fire’s Coachella shout-out to “all the bands still playing actual instruments” at the fest. “Arcade Fire needs to settle down,” he wrote. “Some dudes devote their lives to instruments, other to electronic composition by cpu, dafuqs yer problem? if i wanna watch real artists perform, i’d pick the opera before wasting a fucking minute of my life with Arcade Fire. #doyouevenscorebro?”
According to Consequence of Sound, the band responded in St. Louis with a bit more subtlety, playing their hard-hitting rocker “Normal Person” as deadmau5’s famous mouse head appeared on an LCD screen. Your move, EDM.