Arcade Fire opened themselves up to political scrutiny, giant bobblehead-style, this week when a man in an oversized papier-mâché Barack Obama head appeared next to a “talking head” version of Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry at their Austin concert.
Leading up to the release of their latest record, Reflektor, the band began wearing enormous fake noggins for parts of their concerts. They were even used to fake out the crowd at a small-venue Brooklyn gig in October and one was even stolen in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Most recently, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas came onstage wearing a mask to look like Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler at an Argentina gig. Now they’re branching out beyond the band, according to Consequence of Sound.
“Obama” and “Perry” – the latter of whom in real life has made several pointed remarks about the president, even questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate – greeted the crowd early in the band’s set. As it happens, the real President Obama was in Austin the same day as the concert.
Another bobblehead, “Pope Francis,” made an appearance later in the show before Arcade Fire played their version of Prince’s “Controversy,” a song they performed previously in the Purple One’s hometown of Minneapolis.
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Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler told Rolling Stone in October that he was inspired to create the masks originally while attending Carnival in Haiti. “For me, wearing a mask and dancing and being in the crowd – there’s this whole inversion of society that happens,” he said. “For a lot of my friends and people that I grew up with, the only time you ever really feel comfortable dancing is if you’re with only your best friends and you’re really drunk.”