So, I went to see The National and Arcade Fire last night, which was a blast. I’m not going to write a full review because I don’t feel like I know enough about either band to give a full review, but I will say that it was the best non-Springsteen concert I’ve been to in years.*
*Even though, as I tweeted, I’m pretty sure I was one of the 12 oldest people at the show.
And I will say that while the National is a fun rock band — Mr. November is a great song — Arcade Fire is almost like something else. Arcade Fire has (and I’m only estimating here) about 493 members. And, best I can tell, all 493 play different instruments every song. So there’s something almost magical about the band because there are so many things happening at once. You’ve got two drummers, two violinists, someone on piano, someone on organ, a ukelele, an accordion, four guitars, someone blowing into a Good ‘N Plenty box, it’s a free-for-all, and yet it sounds so together. Like I say, almost magical. The albums are really good. The live show was something beyond.
I went to the show with Pop Warner, my buddy who is a bigwig at Warner Music, and he is the most knowledgable music guy I know. After the show — which he thought was fabulous — I asked him the question: What is the greatest rock band in the world right now?
The world’s greatest rock band — like the heavyweight champion of the world — used to be pretty well known. I mean, sure, there were massive disagreements. You would have people arguing between Led Zeppelin and the Who, between Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, between the Stones and the Beatles, between U2 and the E-Street Band, between the Ramones and the Clash or whatever. But the players were pretty well established. And anyway, it didn’t matter if you LIKED the World’s Greatest Rock Band, you knew the accepted choices and acted accordingly.
But now … I have no idea who are even the nominees. I am old and probably SHOULD have no idea. But I’m still curious. I asked Brian if Arcade Fire would be considered in the running for World’s Greatest Rock Band. He said he thought so. He said Muse would probably be in the running. He said Wilco and the Flaming Lips and some others … then he said: “And U2 is about to start another stadium tour.” But U2, as much as I love them, is not in the running anymore. Neither is Springsteen or REM or anyone else who had their time. I’m curious about who is TODAY’S best rock band.
So I throw it open to nominations. Who do you think is the World’s Greatest Rock Band? Throw your nomination below — add a couple of sentences why if you feel like it. I’ll put the nominations into a poll, and we’ll try to have some fun with it.