Throughout the year, Arcade Fire has been hinting its fifth studio album is on the verge of becoming a reality. Still, the outside world had scarcely heard the new material until this weekend in New Orleans. In town to headline Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, Win Butler and company premiered new music at a secret show and enlisted the help of the Voodoo crowd for a recording for the new album.
The secret show took place Saturday night (Oct. 29) at an empty space in New Orleans’ Secondline Stages. Cell phones were confiscated upon entry, so it’s unlikely any of the 150 Halloween-costumed fans snagged any video. However, we do have a report from The Times-Picayune describing the new music as, “driven by percussive-heavy beats with a flavor of disco, [with] a sharp focus on weighty topics.” By the sound of that, fans of Arcade Fire’s most recent work — 2013’s Reflektor — should be in luck. The report also noted that Butler performed beside a music stand with lyric sheets, presumably because many of the songs were so new.
During the headline show the following night, audience members didn’t get any new songs per se, but they did get a unique chance to have their voices appear on the new project. Butler sang a vocal melody and asked the audience to sing it back to him, with the whole thing being recorded for later use. Hear the catchy chant for yourself below:
The sample Arcade Fire apparently plan to use on #AF5.
— Na na na na na na-na-na-na — pic.twitter.com/1dmMv3yX29
— Arcade Fire tube (@ArcadeFiretube) October 31, 2016
And in the spirit of Halloween, they stepped out of their serious Arcade Fire personas during “Rebellion (Lies)” and covered a little bit of the “Ghostbusters” theme. Find that below:
It comes as no surprise that Arcade Fire would pick New Orleans for these special performances. The Montreal band has adopted NOLA as sort of a home-away-from-home, with Butler and his partner, co-bandleader Régine Chassagne, spending considerable time there in recent years. Back in January, they helped organize and lead a parade with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band through town to pay tribute to the recently deceased David Bowie.
For more from this weekend in NOLA, check out Billboard’s 2016 Voodoo coverage.