What happened when the Canadians' 'Everything Now' tour called into London
The York Hall in Bethnal Green is most certainly not a gig venue; rather, it’s known in the sporting world as the iconic home of British boxing. So the bread and butter of this place is not the unfettered, artistic expression of live music, but the controlled violence of pugilistic encounters. But the stage tonight is smack bang in the middle of the room, where the boxing ring would normally be; the crowd surround the stage on all sides, and all around the balcony are hung the ‘EN’ symbols of Arcade Fire’s new album, which in another context could easily be taken as a sporting emblem.
The crowd tonight, packing out this wooden floored, curved roofed hall, aren’t baying for blood, but there is tangible anticipation of another kind crackling in the air. This is an extremely small venue for Arcade Fire (who have form for playing unusual East End venues at the London launches of new records – seven years ago, for ‘The Suburbs’, the band played the equally iconic but much more opulent Hackney Empire, barely a mile down the road). So the fans here are expecting something special, something unique, and you can feel the collective will for that to be fulfilled, intensified by both the feeling of intimacy and the physical proximity to the stage.