The Arcade Fire are assholes.
Yes, it's true. At least, when it comes to their country. As a fan, it's constantly frustrating to be only a half member of the North American music community; in Canada we share album release dates with America, but routinely get shunned when it comes time for some of our favourite bands to tour behind their recent releases. Toronto is a guaranteed stop, and Vancouver and Montreal are perennial favourites as well. Occasionally, like Spoon recently did, they'll play in Victoria and Vancouver, fulfilling their redundancy quota for the week. In Edmonton, it's often the case that to show my support for a band I love, I would have to drive 11 hours to Vancouver to do it. The real problem? I like to listen only the artist in question the day of their concert, and after that drive I don't think I'd want to see them anymore. I'd turn around and drive home.
I hear you asking, "But why blame the Arcade Fire, if this is across the whole industry?" That is a very good question. There's the expectation that a band takes care of their own first, which is why I can justify not having yet seen Sigur Rós or Hello Saferide. On the positive side of this, I've had ample opportunity to see Sloan, Matthew Good and Danny Michel. So when I first heard Funeral in 2004, I was excited with the prospect of seeing their famed live show (famed that is, by Eastern US fans who had already seen them, often several times)
So I waited. In October 2005, thirteen months after Funeral was released, they finally deigned. After over a year spent touring through the United States and overseas, they finally played their home country, citing good intentions but unfortunate circumstances. Of course, it sold out in less than ten minutes and I wasn't able to go.
But I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they seemed apologetic about it. When Neon Bible was announced, I figured they'd amend their mistake and do a decent-sized Canadian tour. Ha. Five months and no date in site, but they've played the usual suspects. Maybe it's an Eastern thing. Maybe it's another unfortunate circumstance.
What I do know is that in the meantime, other Canadian acts with major southern press have scheduled shows here, including the New Pornographers, Final Fantasy, Tegan & Sara and the Weakerthans. Large American bands like Wilco, Dinosaur Jr. and the White Stripes have played here. Hell, The Raveonettes will have scheduled a show, delayed it twice and eventually played by the time my countrymen get to it.