At 8:20 P.M. on Friday night, the line to enter 299 Meserole Street, a warehouse in Brooklyn's hyper-hip 'hood Bushwick (or East Williamsburg, depending on which real estate agent you ask), stretched down the sidewalk for three city blocks. The crowd was gussied-up in the mandatory costumes or formal wear—black ties, banana onesies, Eyes Wide Shut masks, mariachi costumes, feathered boas, face glitter and more. The attraction: The Reflektors! Wait... who!?
Gotcha: It was Montreal's Arcade Fire—who arrived via a stretch white limo wearing papier-mache bobble heads—playing under the name of their new album, Reflektor (out October 28). It was one of a handful of pranks at the first of two not-so-secret shows this weekend.
The second prank came when the concert started: After an hour waiting inside the disco ball-laden venue, James Murphy, the LCD Soundsystem frontman who produced the new LP, climbed onstage. "We can only get three members right now. But it's going to be OK," he said. "In the interim, I'd like to introduce ...the Reflektors!" Three members in bobble heads then loosely jammed as the crowd surged the stage. Suddenly a curtain dropped across the venue, revealing all seven AF members (plus extra percussionists) who kicked into the shadowy disco jam "Reflektor," as the crowd rushed to reposition for a closer look.
After three new tracks, including "Flashbulb Eyes" and "We Exist," frontman Win Butler addressed the high-jinks: "Do you forgive us? We'll make it up somehow—it won't be the last time we do something we think is funny no one else thinks is funny."
"You look beautiful," he added of the costumes. "Thanks for putting in the effort."
The band played seven new tracks in all, and the comparisons to David Byrne's Talking Heads and Bowie's Heroes era are apt. The tracks strut on slick, pastel-lit Dub grooves, eerie synths and Butler's lyrics about creeping into the night. Both the venue's goth-disco decor and the band's all-white suits and raccoon-esque face-paint was spot-on.
Butler introduced two tracks as Arcade Fire covers (get it? It's The Reflektors, wink-wink): "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," from their 2011 Grammy-winner The Suburbs, and "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," from their 2004 debut Funeral.
After closing the nine-song set with newbie "Here Comes the Night Time," the band exited the stage and the audience milled, awaiting the requisite encore. It never came. But Butler soon walked onstage in a t-shirt to explain that, yes, the show was over, but the band would DJ dance tracks into the night. The crowd booed and many migrated towards the exit. But first a slightly peeved Butler ended on a note that sums up the entire night and Reflektor aesthetic.
"Whatever. I'll see you on the dance floor," he said.
"Joan of Arc"
"Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"
"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"
"Here Comes the Night Time"