Release Date: Jun 17, 2016
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
When a member of a successful band makes a solo album, it often means they're looking for a chance to do something they can't do within the context of their main project. That appeared to be the case on Will Butler's 2015 set Policy, in which the Arcade Fire's multi-instrumentalist (and brother of leader Win Butler) took the center spotlight for a change and let his own musical personality roam free. However, Butler establishes a stronger aural identity on 2016's Friday Night, which was recorded during three dates of Butler's tour in support of the album.
In Arcade Fire's early days, the band were known for packing as many members onstage as they could and just letting it rip, shouting and stomping around as much as actually singing, turning each performance into a sweaty, vaudevillian mess of joy. And while their live shows have naturally grown up with their profile and fan base, you can still hear that ragged exuberance on Friday Night, the live album from Arcade Fire extraordinaire Will Butler. Honestly, the very existence of Friday Night at this point in time is bizarre; it's a live album released one studio record into Butler's solo career, and it's not like that aforementioned album — 2014's Policy — was particularly well-received or high profile enough to warrant a revisit so quickly (though, is anything, really?).
Friday Night begins with an encore, and that’s not even the weirdest thing about this unlikely live album. It follows Will Butler’s solo debut, last year’s Policy, an eight-track, one-man rumination on his place in the world and possibly in the Arcade Fire. Those songs mimicked the scale of that band’s biggest anthems, yet kept the stakes aggressively personal, as Butler revealed his dire worries over his family, his country, even his eternal soul.
The members of Arcade Fire have fed off of one another's ambitions to spread their wings and try flying solo. Will Butler, brother of Win, took his opportunity to assert his own musical independence with last year's solo debut, Policy, and has now released a live album of that record, plus a couple of new songs, recorded mainly at a Chicago show last year. .