Before They Were Famous, The Arcade Fire Were Just These Guys Who Opened For Chromeo

While cleaning out his archives, Gawker’s Jim Lehnhoff unearthed some video that he shot of the Arcade Fire all the way back on April 11, 2004, at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. (They were third on the bill, playing behind the Unicorns and freakin’ Chromeo, and in front of The Ponys.) Anyway, he donated it to us for “research” purposes; while Win Butler does engage in some flopping around the (teeny!) stage during this performance of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” this clip is notable for the fact that the band doesn’t really need Christmas lights, mariachi bands, or Web 2.0 trickery in order to put on a pretty damn compelling show. Ah, 2004–were we all that much more innocent then?

  • westartedthis

    just think – where will Black Kids be playing in 3 and a half years?!??!

    no really though, i liked arcade fire’s current stage show. i just wish i could have seen it without the overpowering stench of shitty weed all around me and the “early adopter” kid who shouted out the name of every song not taken from Neon Bible like he was on a game show and the two guys who got in a FIST FIGHT like they were at a Madball show and the girl who looked like Ugly Betty and insisted on swaying and dancing around in the packed-too-tightly crowd with a 15′ shoulder bag slamming into everyone around her. i copped more accidental feels that night than a person should ever have to.

  • Anonymous

    @westartedthis: black kids are no arcade fire

  • Anonymous

    testing – comments don’t seem to be working in firefox

    please feel free to delete this comment, but someone email me from
    the listed address in my profile if i’m doing something wrong or have
    been suspended?!?!

  • Ned Raggett

    @Chaakles: Compliment, or not?

  • Felonious Monk

    Goddammit. Missing this show will forever haunt me. “No thanks man, I’ll see your Canadian cousin’s band some other time.” So stupid.

  • Swankster

    different times back in ohfor

  • prolixrush

    Wowee wow wow. Does he have any more videos from this show posted online anywhere?

  • Halfwit

    @goldsoundz: Yeah, but documentation of such facts is always fun. I remember that “Hybrid Theory” used to come through the backroom bars of Poughkeepsie, NY pretty regularly before they became Linkin Park. Not even a fan, but it would’ve been interesting to see them fighting the jukebox in the next room.

    The chruch can’t hold a lot more than 150 people, I believe. I just love the fact that you know that there are, maybe, 50 people in the audience at that point.

    @hypnotyza: Confirming Firefox comment issues. Had to switch to IE.

  • Rory B. Bellows

    Does the video provide any evidence of what they did with that kid’s basketball?

  • MTS

    I was totally there! Meeeeemories…..

  • MTS

    @westartedthis: just think – where will Black Kids be playing in 3 and a half years?!??!

    FYI, the FUC isn’t some out of the way venue — it’s one of the central spots in Philly for bands to play. I’ve seen huge names play there in its basement (that doubles as a children’s daycare).

  • MTS

    @Halfwit: The chruch can’t hold a lot more than 150 people, I believe. I just love the fact that you know that there are, maybe, 50 people in the audience at that point.

    Basement holds about 4-500. The side sanctuary holds 50, the upstairs much more. One sage word of advice: there is no A/C, so going to shows in the summer is at your own risk.

  • Kate Richardson

    I saw them in ’04 as well. The performance was really fun. Even better, I daresay, than this video.

  • goldsoundz

    Breaking: Currently popular band was once less popular.

  • Halfwit

    @MTS: They can fit 500 people in that place? Sweet mother of God! Amen on the no A/C thing… saw Broken Social Scene there and the steam off the crowd was visible (and heavy).

    Assuming you’re a Philadelphian… isn’t the Punk Rock Flea Market supposed to raise money for an A/C system? Haven’t they been promoting it as such for the past 5 years now?

  • squidley

    thanks for this. it’s great. I wish I’d been smart enough to see them back in the oh so distant hopeful days of aught-four.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Suddenly, the Unicorns/Chromeo/Ponys show I saw at the Knitting
    Factory a few nights later seems so much crappier. I WUZ ENTITLED TO

  • MTS

    @Halfwit: Yup, 500. The Atom & His Package final show stands out as a particular highlight/lowlight in that regard — so many people, so much mid-August sweating. BAAARF.

    I know that for a long time, the PRFM was being used to help raise the funds for A/C, but then that disappeared. I know that now PRFM helps keep R5′s insurance policy afloat.

  • G3K

    I think I like these guys way more in their pre-dressing-like-the-Decemberists phase. Gotta love the xylophone.

  • busdriverstu

    Oh man I forgot how much I enjoyed the Arcade Fire before they turned into U2.

  • dog door

    Hey Band of Horses dude, this is why people videotape random shows.

  • Anonymous

    Are there anymore videos of this show? This concert was absolutely amazing, and I’m glad someone got at least one song on tape. After this, I remember the Unicorns doing an easter egg hunt on stage during their set and Chromeo telling the crowd we danced worse than new haven, connecticut. The Arcade Fire definitely was the highlight of the show, though.