Arcade Fire has always been a band you must see live. The Montreal indie-rock large ensemble's four albums are consistently good, but the optimal way to experience their signature dramatic energy and ecstatic group dynamic is in the flesh. The last time they played Philadelphia, four years ago, was at the Mann Center. This time: Wells Fargo Center. This jump in venue size is in part the result of the Grammy for album of the year the band unexpectedly took home for The Suburbs (2010). Last year, the band released the James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem)-coproduced double-LP, Reflektor. It was sometimes meandering, but sonically sprawling and charmingly ambitious in a way we've come to expect from Arcade Fire, and wouldn't expect from anyone else.
- Elliott Sharp
Nixon's Head/ The Donuts/ Adam & Dave's Bloodline
A spirit of togetherness suffuses this triple bill of Philadelphia rock bands, all of whom have something to celebrate. In the case of the Donuts and Nixon's Head, it's a brand-new joint album release, Pow!/Mod!, two words that spell each other when turned upside down. The Donuts, which Jon Houlon of alt-country band John Train fronts when he's in a more raucous mood, punch in with urgency on Pow!, while veteran rockers Nixon's Head, headed up by Jim Slade, deliver an ambitious but not too serious version of an Abbey Road-style mini-song suite on Mod! Not to be left out, headliner Adam & Dave's Bloodline are celebrating the release of their four-song EP 2x2, which is a rugged and raw blast of psychedelic-flavored rock.
- Dan DeLuca
The Glitch Mob
As far as DJ-turned-artist-teams go, the Glitch Mob is one of the most impressive, especially considering how the L.A. team - founding and current members edIT, Boreta, and Ooah - have merged the dense and moody sound of European breakbeat with sleek, even rocky IDM and hip-hop throughout its time in the limelight. As a DJ assemblage, it was odd, yet brave, that the Glitch Mob made its debut album - 2010's Drink the Sea - an often somber, introspective affair rich with dark atmospheres and down-turned chord changes. The same cannot be said of 2014's Love Death Immortality. Together with the girl guest vocalists of Metal Mother, Nico Vega's Aja Volkman, and Sister Crayon's Terra Lopez, the men of the Glitch Mob made Love Death Immortality into a glittering, butch, fast-paced bit of bass-driven electro touched by the not-so-nuanced elements of synth-screechy noise, riff rock, and pop-hop, with the whole tamale sounding like a head-charging, biker-gang version of Depeche Mode. Plus, their new stage show is designed by Martin Phillips' Bionic League, the crew behind the live visuals of Daft Punk, deadmau5, and Kanye West, which means the Glitch Mob will look as great as they'll sound.
- A.D. Amorosi