Sometimes good fortune combines with sleep deprivation in the best possible way, like on Saturday night when we woke up just in time for Arcade Fire’s second performance on Saturday Night Live but didn’t have to watch the rest of the show. Seen through groggy eyes, the band’s live version of “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” was revelatory. Sure, Régine Chassagne’s voice sounded shaky, to say the least, but the whole tone of that song is shaky, to say the least. On The Suburbs, when Chassagne sings about millennial malaise, there is no attendant anxiety in her vocal. She actually sounds kind of satisfied and warm. Maybe Canadian’s are just less stressed about it? Who knows. But in New York, people can’t even say “happy birthday” without it ringing a little agitated, so when her voice breaks and bumps against her range’s ceiling, it feels a lot more appropriate. The band sounds better, too, confined to the small stage, all close to each other, ill Tron suits misfiring. And then Chassagne pulls out the streamers and it’s just like being on the C train on Saturday night. Weird action!
Check the more or less eventful performance of “We Used to Wait” from SNL after the jump, in which Win Butler steps on some dude’s groin.