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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: August 12, 2014

Arcade Fire to play Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor on Aug. 20

The crowd will include a busload of family and friends from Mount Desert Island and Maine-made onesies will be among the souvenirs.

Written by: Ray Routhier
Arcade Fire's new album, Reflektor, comes out Tuesday.

Arcade Fire’s new album, Reflektor, comes out Tuesday.

Crowd will include bus load of family and friends from Mount Desert Island and Maine-made onesies will be among the souvenirs

Arcade Fire’s Wednesday concert in Bangor will have at least two things most arena-type rock concerts lack.

When the artsy and innovative rock band from Montreal takes the stage at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, they’ll be continuing their reign as one of the hottest bands in pop music. The band’s fourth studio album, “Reflektor,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart last November.

But other bands are innovative, other bands debut at No. 1.

What then, will be so different when Arcade Fire plays Maine?

First there’s the matter of 90 to 100 family and friends of band members Will and Win Butler attending the show. All are set to cheer with a familial pride rarely exhibited in the world of rock and roll.

“We’re chartering a bus because so many people want to go,’ said the Butler brothers’ mom, Liza Rey Butler, who lives on Mount Desert Island. “I’m bringing about 30 myself, mostly 60 to 80 year-olds. We don’t want to drive.”

Then there’s the onesies. Among the Arcade Fire souvenirs being sold these days are little baby one-piece outfits made in Maine, with the “Reflektor” album logo on the front.

arcadefire_onsies

“We’ve done two orders for them so far, just under 1,000 onesies,” said Andrea Updike of Ellsworth, who makes the onesies as part of her clothing business, &Apparel. “I made the first one as a gift when Win and Régine (band member Régine Chassagne) had their baby.”

Will Butler says both of the above happenings make sense. First, Maine is where his parents live and where his father’s family goes back several generations.

“I very much identify Maine as my ancestral home,” said Will, 31, who grew up in Texas. “I think I’m more of a Yankee myself.”

As for the onesies, Will and Win are both fathers now. And their fans are of a similar age and likely to be in a similar place in their lives.

“It’s been ten years since “Funeral” came out, so the first wave of people to like us are now in their baby-making years,” said Will.

Will and Win’s father, Ned Butler, is from Maine originally but spent most of his career as a geologist in other parts of the country. So Will and Win spent much of their childhood near Houston, Texas. Then they both attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, before landing in Montreal, where the band is now based.

Will says he and his brother grew up with a different view of music as a career than most people. Their mother is the daughter of electric guitar pioneer Alvino Rey and Luise King, a member of The King Sisters vocal group. As a youngster, she was part of the larger King Family group, which had its own TV show in the 60s. She later played jazz harp and was always involved with music when her sons were growing up.

“Since my mom was a musician and her whole family had been musicians, there was no sense of music as rebellion when we started playing,” said Will. “That’s quite different than most rock and roll bands.”

Liza Rey Butler, mother of two members of the red hot rock band, Arcade Fire, has an interesting and varied musical background of her own, including gigs playing jazz harp and parts on some of her son's albums.   Thursday,  January, 09, 2014.  John Ewing/Press Herald file photo

Liza Rey Butler, mother of two members of the red hot rock band, Arcade Fire, has an interesting and varied musical background of her own, including gigs playing jazz harp and parts on some of her son’s albums.
Thursday, January, 09, 2014. John Ewing/Press Herald file photo

Besides a big group of family and friends, and the onesies, a couple other things will likely make Arcade Fire’s Bangor show stand out.

During this recent tour the band has been unveiling a different, quirky cover song at each show, leaving fans to guess what the next cover might be.

In recent weeks they’ve played “Axel F” (theme from the film “Beverly Hills Cop”), as well as “California Uber Alles” by Dead Kennedys, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, and “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry.

Often the covers have been songs that have something to do with the city or state the concert is in, or are by an artist from that state.

Based on that criteria, Arcade Fire might choose “King of the Road” by Roger Miller, because of the line “third boxcar, midnight train/ destination Bangor, Maine.”

Or they might do Howie Day’s 2004 hit “Collide,” since Day is from neighboring Brewer.

At the beginning of the tour, Arcade Fire asked fans to come to the “Reflektor” shows “dressed up” in formal attire or some suitable costume, and many have. The sets for the shows have been made up to look like nightclubs.

But Will Butler admits it’s hard to recreate a night club feel in a big outdoor venue, and the Bangor show will be configured for a capacity crowd of 9,000. So instead, he said, this show will be more like a barbecue or a Mardi Gras celebration.

And who shows up when you throw a barbecue?

Family and friends.

ARCADE FIRE

WHEN: 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20
Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, 1 Railroad St., Bangor
HOW MUCH: $31 – $66
INFO: waterfrontconcerts.com

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