Arcade Fire have announced a surprise show to take place today (14th March).
The band will play a ‘pay what you can’ show at New Orleans’ Toulouse Theatre, with all proceeds going to the Plus 1 Ukraine relief fund.
Wristbands for the gig are available from the venue from 10am local time, limited to one per customer.
It won’t be Arcade Fire’s first show back, though – from the looks of some Instagram posts, the band played a secret warm-up gig at the same venue last night (13th March).
One post also suggests the band have added a new musician to at least their live set up too, citing Haitian singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Beaubrun as joining the group.
Over the last couple of weeks, fans have started to receive postcards in the mail. There appear to be numerous versions, each featuring different sets of musical notations. One appears to feature a section of ‘Memories of the Age of Anxiety’, a 45-minute long track the band made for the Headspace meditation app last year, while another seems to contain lyrics – “unsubscribe / unsubscribe / ain’t no way of life / don’t believe the hype”.
One fan has been translating the new notations into listenable music, which you can hear below.
Each of these postcards sports a new logo for the band, and a hand-drawn image of an eyeball, with a speech bubble containing “I”. Underneath is a tick box reading unsubscribe.
They also feature the phrase “WE missed you”, with the letters WE capitalised. Interestingly – though not necessarily related – that unexplained capitalisation is something the band also did in a recent tweet in tribute to Dr Paul Farmer, the co-founder of non-profit Partners in Health that helped set up healthcare systems in Haiti, who passed away last month.
Alongside the postcards, posters and stickers have begun to appear in major cities. There appear to be two designs – one featuring the hand-drawn unsubscribe image from the postcards, and another billboard-sized creative featuring an extreme close up of an eyeball and the band’s logo.
Over recent days, the band’s profile pictures on social media have also changed to that sketched eyeball drawing. Originally zoomed in to the pupil, day by day the image was zoomed out until the full composition was revealed.
Over the weekend, it seems the comeback campaign is kicking up a gear. One fan on Reddit claims to have followed an ad they found online to a new website. It features a background of an extremely close-up eyeball, the band’s new logo, and that hand-drawn eyeball character again – this time with a speech bubble reading “WE”.
Clicking on the band’s logo brings up a subscription form to the band’s newsletter, while interacting with the sketch plays a snippet of what appears to be new music. Contained in that clip is a short blast of Morse code, spelling out the letters WE.
As a further Easter egg, the source code for the page contains more musical notation, matching up with the fourth postcard design discovered by fans.
All this activity is all expected to build up to a new album from Arcade Fire, who released their last full length ‘Everything Now’ back in 2017.