MSN Music Blog - Reverb

Arcade Fire in costume drama over tour dress code

Request for fans to wear 'formal attire or costumes' at 2014 arena shows has led to debate

By MSN Music Partners Nov 19, 2013 2:35PM

By Kyle McGovern


Before Arcade Fire revealed their tirelessly teased "Reflektor" album, the indie-rock giants played a series of small club shows under the guise of the Reflektors and asked fans to abide by a formal attire or costume dress code. Now, the Canadian six-piece have a full-scale North American arena tour planned for 2014, and they're making the same demands.


As Stereogum points out, if you want to get into the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky to see Arcade Fire on March 6, heed this Ticketmaster disclaimer: "NIGHT OF SHOW: Please wear formal attire or costume."


Bing: Find Arcade Fire tour dates | What country inspired Arcade Fire's new album?


Understandably, there's been a bit of backlash against AF for their black-tie ambitions. Slate notes that while other acts have imposed a dress code on crowds in the past -- a la the "all-white" theme to LCD Soundsystem's farewell show -- those gigs tend to be noteworthy occasions, not a routine stop on the tour circuit.


"For most of us, formal attire is reserved for weddings or special nights out," Slate writes. "Trying to force otherwise ordinary rock shows into the special category strikes me as presumptuous -- an attempt to reinforce the band's status as capital-A Artists."


Also from SPIN: Watch Arcade Fire's Win Butler Play Dress-Up, Sing 'Reflektor' With Mariachi Band


Months ago, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler told the BBC that part of the reason the road to "Reflektor" was littered with trailers and graffiti-art campaigns was so that fans could all experience the album as "an event," all at the same time, like when Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video debuted. But what good is a shared experience that isn't comfortable because it's so buttoned up? Well, as the NME reports, here's what Butler had to say to a U.K. crowd earlier this month: "To anyone who felt uncomfortable dressing up -- I'm not sorry... At least 70 percent of you are getting laid tonight... As long as you showered. That's the secret, boys."


To see if Arcade Fire's live show is worth the wardrobe requirements, scroll down and watch the band's recent "Afterlife" performance on German television show Circus Halligalli. Consult AF's website for tour dates, and head over to Ticketmaster for details on various VIP Packages.


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Nov 29, 2013 11:53AM
Yeah, God forbid you have to get dressed up for the night instead of looking like a total slob. Oh the humanity...
Nov 29, 2013 9:45AM
I really like Arcade Fire, unique sound and very talented people. Their concert on Direc TV from Spain was great but too short. This Band did Tour in Support of Barrack Obama so I always expected there was something weird about Win Butler.
Nov 29, 2013 9:14AM
Don't know who they are but seem like weirdo's to me. They should be happy that people pay what they do to see them. They are the ones who are supposed to be putting on the show. 
Nov 29, 2013 7:12AM
I would not even go see them if the concert was free with no dress code. Their so called music sucks.
Nov 29, 2013 4:42AM
they need to wear some formal attire & bury their music career.
Nov 23, 2013 2:57PM
Just when you thought these guys couldn't get any more pretentious and conceited, they spring this "requirement" for the privilege of spending $100 per seat to watch them play their lousy music dressed up for a wedding. It became obvious they'd lost their minds on that disastrous appearance on SNL a few weeks back. Win, if you wanna become the new Bono and AF the new U2, first pay your dues and produce worthwhile music. Then you can be the world's biggest egomaniac rock stars.
Nov 20, 2013 6:19PM
I dress nice regardless, but I avoid any place or event with a dress code.  Not my bag to attend something where some douche is going to judge whether people are dressed "right" or not. 
Nov 20, 2013 5:25PM
avatar if!!!  Most Americans, especially concertgoers, have no clue what "formal attire" even is, much less own any speck of such clothing.  Costumes would come easier for Americans, but it's likely going to look like a freak show, except for those few who will wear something truly amazing and fantastic.  LCD Soundsystem had the right idea in the band's closing concerts at NY's Madison Square Garden when they asked concertgoers to dress in white.  Maybe Arcade Fire could do the same, requesting fans dress in various colors at stops along the way?  In any case, the tour will be a likely sellout at every venue.
They shouldn't even be allowed into the US if they're this big of asses. Canada's already threatened us with beiber we don't need any more of their trash in America.
Nov 20, 2013 3:22PM

lol.....can this band be any more full of themselves?


good thing their music sucks so this will never be a worry for me :)

Nov 20, 2013 3:18PM

Beastie Boys called the concert I went to a "Gala Event" and asked their fans to go formal. It wasn't a requirement but a fun twist on a rap/rock concert. Everyone seemed to love the idea!

Nov 20, 2013 1:57PM
Wear a t-shirt and jeans and say you are in costume as a "rock concert fan". If they want people to follow their rules be prepared for people to bend them.
Nov 20, 2013 1:55PM
And the new album  is ridiculous.   Can't believe they get so much attention when really good music is ignored.
Nov 20, 2013 1:54PM
Pretty much sick of these folks.  Especially the lead singer.   Time to go away,.    Not much talent here anyway.
Nov 20, 2013 1:36PM

Oh come on, who doesn't like a fun costume party.  I think it's great that they are encouraging everyone to dress up.  That's what they did here in Miami at the concert last month as the "Reflektors".  Get out your tuxedos and formal gowns and make a fun night of it. 


p.s. and no, I'm not a 12 year old, but I do love this band.  I live in Miami and am getting tickets this weekend to see them on August 26th in Chicago. 

Nov 20, 2013 1:18PM
Remember when they were a un-pretentious, under the radar, bundle of fresh sound and energy? Apparently they have forgotten what made them so incredible... 
Nov 20, 2013 12:54PM
fans are paying to see them and buy their music…this is B.S.  they just want to do something to stand out and probably are thinking that they are starting a cool trend. 
Nov 20, 2013 12:13PM

I guess being pretentious is just their way of reminding the world that they are not just your regular, run of the mill Canadian band but a super superior French Canadian band. See the difference?

Nov 20, 2013 11:54AM
This guy looks like a clown in the picture and he wants me to wear formal attire to his concert?
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