CONSTANTINES and ARCADE FIRE with DAN DEACON at the Molson Amphitheatre (909 Lake Shore West), Friday (August 29), 7:30 pm. $45-$90. LN, TM.
Since re-forming to play a few shows this summer, Constantines are showing no signs of rust. The reunion initially came about in conjunction with a reissue of their defining 2003 album, Shine A Light. But when the gritty Guelph indie rockers' live prowess proved unchanged since their 2010 hiatus, subsequent fall dates were booked.
"We found our energy again pretty quickly, which was a surprise to all of us, I think. Muscle memory is a remarkable thing," says frontman Bry Webb. Still, given the cult following developed over their 11-year existence and the demand for all things Cons right now, Webb is tempering expectations for the band's future. "We'll keep doing what we can, but it's pretty nice to have the luxury of just taking on what we want."
On Friday the band opens for Arcade Fire at the Molson Amphitheatre. It won't be the first time they play the lakeside venue: in the summer of 2005 they opened for Foo Fighters, a day Webb remembers fondly.
"[Dave Grohl] had the energy of a six-year-old, and I think he and the rest of the band were listening to [Quebec metal act] Voivod at top volume in their dressing room right before they went on," he says.
This week's show inspires equally warm feelings, given that the headliners hand-picked Constantines to open. Respect from one of the world's biggest bands was already evident during Arcade Fire's March show at the ACC, when they covered Shine A Light's Young Lions.
"I wasn't at the show, but my phone exploded with text messages," Webb says of that night. "That was a really sweet surprise. I called [Arcade Fire guitarist/bassist] Tim Kingsbury the next day to say thanks, and he asked if we'd want to play with them sometime. We had just posted the letter about our decision to start playing again."
Webb says the offer "seemed perfect" and he isn't concerned about Arcade Fire's requests on their spring tour that the audience wear "formal attire or costume."
"If that's the case, I'm not sure they're gonna let the Cons into the venue," he jokes.
Webb's only ask for the upcoming date is a simple one, inspired by that first Amphitheatre show nine years ago.
"I seem to remember a lot of crowd surfing," he says. "Hopefully that happens again this weekend."