“Here Comes the Night Time” NBC Special
Following the season premiere of Saturday Night Live featuring host Tina Fey and musical guests Arcade Fire, NBC surprisingly aired a straight-up trippy half-hour concert special for Arcade Fire called “Here Comes the Night Time”, named after one of the songs off their much-anticipated upcoming album, Reflektor. Beside playing their disco lead single “Reflektor” and debuting another song “Afterlife” on SNL, the Canadian indie rockers debuted three new songs on the special as well as a slew of high profile cameos and strange costumes, making for a very strange but very bold half-hour of television for NBC.
Though pre-recorded, “Here Comes the Night Time” opened as if the special was performed immediately following SNL, with the band leaving the set to a nearby disco club, which looked like one of the clubs Stefon used to recommend on Weekend Update, to begin performing the new track “Here Comes the Night Time” in front of strange and star-studded audience. The first three audience members we see are James Franco, Ben Stiller, and Bono, which speaks to the bands wide-reaching popularity. On top of these huge guests, we have Michael Cera as a Spanish-speaking, Shakira loving bartender, Bill Hader and Zach Galifianakis webcast in from outerspace, Rainn Wilson as a rough roadie, and Aziz Ansari and Eric Wareheim from Tim & Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job! somewhere entirely different with a giant pile of bananas. Sure some of this didn’t make a ton of sense, but it was no doubt entertaining and surprising, even if cameos is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment.
As for the Arcade Fire’s new material, the new songs wreaked of their new producer, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame, long, shimmering dance rock numbers which is a little unexpected of a look for an anthemic indie rock band. We at LxL aren’t as big on Arcade Fire as much of the blogosphere, feeling like their music is sometimes a bit too simple and contrived, but I did find many of these songs to be strong, particularly closer “Normal Person”, which was less an LCD Soundsystem song veiled in an Arcade Fire form but more a good strong pure-blooded rock song. “Here Comes the Night Time” is undoubtedly a unique song also, which is a jaunty little pop song, highlighted by its flamenco-flavored bridge, making it the most fit for the Salsatheque setting.
It will be interesting to see how these songs are produced and if the rest lean towards the electro-dance aesthetic (like many of the songs premiered did) or stick to a more traditional Arcade Fire sound. But kudos to both NBC and Arcade Fire for trying something out-of-the-box, even if it didn’t hit on all cylinders.