Minimum Gauge: Ironies clash in Arcade Fire's promo schtick

Arcade Fire's "hip and trendy" dress code was a joke… maybe?; Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi don't want "Despacito" to be used as soundtrack to Nicolás Maduro's dictatorship; Jamey Johnson cancels show after weapons shake-down.

click to enlarge Arcade Fire - Photo: Nasty Little Man
Photo: Nasty Little Man
Arcade Fire

HOT: Dress Code Wars?

Arcade Fire’s layered meta/irony promo thing leading up to Friday’s release of its Everything Now album — an introvert version of U2’s overblown Zooropa “social commentary”  — makes it’s hard to tell if any “news” about the band is real or part of the schtick. Case in point: When an unpopular “hip and trendy” dress code and “phone-free” rule was announced for an impending album release show, frontman Win Butler said it was all the doing of Apple Music, which is live-streaming the concert. But the band’s official Twitter account quickly churned out one of its faux propagandist statements to claim responsibility while sheepishly walking back the “mandatory” elements of the initial decree. The sly marketing approach has also produced a spot-on parody of the music website Stereogum.

WARM: Political Misappropriation Goes Global

Donald Trump apparently is not the only world leader to use music in political rallies by artists who vehemently oppose him. When the worldwide hit “Despacito” was used by Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro to rally the youth to his (wrong) side (of history), the song’s singers, Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi, criticized the use, with Mr. Yankee writing that it only highlighted Maduro’s “fascist ideal.” Maduro recently responded to protests over constitutional overreach by killing, injuring and jailing thousands.

COLD: Sticking to His Guns

Performers are often lambasted for “diva” backstage demands like the temperature of bottled water or the thread count of the cases for their tiny toe pillows, but it’s hard to think of an instance where unmet demands led to a cancellation. But when Country artist Jamey Johnson found out that a venue had recently implemented a ban on guns, he reportedly canceled the show just hours before start time, angered (or frightened?) that his crew would be unarmed. To be fair, it was a hard-nosed dive bar in a very violent neighborhood — a House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Johnson’s drummer said the issue has been taken out of context and that the band’s posse was treated like a terrorist cell.


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