The Arcade Fire kicked off a five-show run at Judson Memorial Church on a snowy evening in New York last night (Feb. 13), performing nine of the 11 tracks from its highly anticipated sophomore album,

The Arcade Fire kicked off a five-show run at Judson Memorial Church on a snowy evening in New York last night (Feb. 13), performing nine of the 11 tracks from its highly anticipated sophomore album, "Neon Bible." The set is due March 6 via Merge and will be supported by a lengthy world tour.

The show began with the new album's propulsive "Keep the Car Running" and "(Antichrist Television Blues)," as frontman Win Butler stared straight forward while belting out tales of transcending stagnation. With an actual neon bible illuminating the stage, the 10 musicians rarely let up as they shifted into "Black Mirror," during which the floor of the tiny venue shook from the reverberations of bass and drums.

After a somber, slower detour on "My Body Is a Cage," the group ratcheted up the energy considerably for "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," which segued from a one-chord jam directly into "Rebellion (Lies)," another standout from the Arcade Fire's 2004 debut, "Funeral."

Butler kept his between-song banter to a minimum, at one point offering to buy the audience a beer and hypothesizing that they were all lapsed Catholics. But there was plenty to keep the eyes affixed to the stage, from the constant instrument switching to the megaphones taped to microphone stands to a drum being beaten without mercy with a shoe.

Two more new songs made up the encore: the Bruce Springsteen-leaning "Windowsill" and "The Well and the Lighthouse," which began in breathless forward motion but was brought down to a near-hush by song's end.

The group's New York stint continues through Friday. A European tour begins March 5 in Dublin, followed by another month in North America through a June 1-2 stand in Berkeley, Calif.

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