**Reader Beware: this post is Not Safe for Hipsters, or NSFH, as it might shatter the fantasies they’ve constructed about Win Butler of Arcade Fire and what kind of person they think he is.**
Sometimes I can’t believe it, but Win Butler, lead crooner and hack Telecaster strumming bafoon of Arcade Fire, is an ASSHOLE. It’s time to pull the curtain on the Indie blogs as well as the band’s cliquey Twitter fan page, ArcadeFiretube, and reveal the truth.
Two years ago in August of 2014, I flew to Chicago, the hometown of my all-time favorite band since 1994, the Smashing Pumpkins, to see Arcade Fire, a newer band I sort of liked at the time (what a handlebar twist of hipster irony!) play on their Reflektor Tour. Arcade Fire were to play two shows back-to-back at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and the legendary Michael Jordan, who was a personal hero of mine growing up. Due to my love of the Pumpkins, I’d always felt nostalgic for Chicago and wanted to see the land that inspired that eclectic quartet and their dreamy ballads which painted my youth and still touch my soul very deeply. The Travelocity bundle was cheap, plus I heard Win Butler was hosting dance parties after the shows in each city and spending a lot of time mingling with fans, which I thought was cool, but more on that later.
I had been on Arcade Fire’s bandwagon for a while prior to the shows, not so much because I was blown away by their music, but because I was lonely in a new town and there was a part of me that wanted to fit in with all their cool, beautiful fans we call hipsters. You know, the kids who were popular in high school, who made fun of mopey goth types like me, who now sport the styles the 90s kids popularized in order to live out a rebellion that eluded them in their youth. In Arcade Fire, I was also searching for a musical haven. The music of my and prior generations was just so mind-blowingly good, I wanted to hear new music that made me feel something, too. Based on some of their earlier works, I felt that Arcade Fire had the potential to be that band in the future, which is why I began following them.
That all being said, Arcade Fire know how to put on a good show even if the tickets were overpriced. Also, the band required all their concert attendees to wear formal attire to the shows at the risk of being turned away at the door – kind of a douchey move, if you ask me, especially when they were charging $100 a pop for back of the house seats. By the way, at what other rock show in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll were fans required to dress up to be allowed to attend a concert? That seems like the antithesis of rock to me, but I digress.
On the night after the second show, Win Butler hosted an after party at the Beauty Bar in downtown Chicago. His alias at the parties he hosts is DJ Windows 98, and his definition of DJing means hooking up his iPhone into some speakers and playing shitty 80s dance tunes all night vis-a-vis Wang Chung while slugging down bottles of whiskey and glaring at people from behind the DJ platform. Hella weird, right? You can tell that this dude hasn’t been laid in years!
Most of the people at the afterparty were fans of the band who wanted to chat with Win and get his autograph once the afterparty commenced. The city of Chicago has a noise ordinance, so at 2am on the dot, the club shut off sound without warning in the middle of his DJ set. That’s when things got out of hand. The seemingly humble lead singer of this squeaky clean Indie band flipped the bitch switch. He started screaming at the staff of the club, “What the fuck!? Why did they do that to me??? Who even works here!? Who works here!?” When a fan interrupted his tantrum to ask him a question, he shouted, “Stop talking please!” Another fan asked him to sign the album Funeral on vinyl, to which Win yelled, “NO!” and waved the fan out of his sight. As the club started clearing out, various other fans, including myself, tried to shake Win’s hand but were met with nothing more than a cold stare from the man himself until the club’s security guard escorted him out the back door to his black stretch limo.
From that moment, I went from being somewhat of a fan to absolutely despising Win Butler and Arcade Fire. As someone who was lured in by the nicely-nice familial image of seven-plus band members and their three chord coombaya songs, I felt betrayed. That’s a whole lot of ego for someone whose albums have never sold more than 700,000 copies. I was also embarrassed that I’d ever taken interest in something I was so luke warm about in the hopes of fitting in. As one reviewer of the album Reflektor stated, Arcade Fire are fraud.