Canadian rock band Arcade Fire has found themselves in a bit of a controversy over an upcoming show that will be livestreamed on Apple Music.
Fans headed to the Brooklyn concert this Thursday received an email on Monday asking them to comply with a “HIP & TRENDY” dress code, Brooklyn Vegan reported on Monday.
The dress code for the Arcade Fire album release party banned shorts, logos, flip flops, tank tops, baseball caps, and solid red or white clothing.
The ticket for the album release show also mentioned that the show would be a phone-free viewing experience, with all smartphones “secured in Yondr pouches” that prevent them from taking photos or being used during the show.
The album release party isn’t a standard concert — tickets were distributed to fans who answered questions about the band online, the Brooklyn Paper reported.
Of course, there was immediate backlash — specifically about the dress code. In a bizarre statement tweeted from the band’s official account, attributed to a fictional social media manager, the band walked back from the dress code, and said it was “due to the involvement of our partners at Apple.”
— Arcade Fire (@arcadefire) July 24, 2017
Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler tweeted that the rules “must be an Apple thing.”
Band has nothing to do with a dress code or taking people’s phones. Must be an @apple thing. Maybe Black turtlenecks 🙂
— win butler (@DJWindows98) July 24, 2017
But Apple made no demands either about a dress code or for a cell-phone free environment during the “Everything Now” album release party, which will be livestreamed on Apple Music on Thursday.
Apple would not enforce a “hip and trendy” dress code, and hasn’t done so in the past with Apple Music shows that have been livestreamed, a person with knowledge of Apple’s thinking said.
Apple certainly wouldn’t push a concert to ban smartphones from the venue, considering it’s the company best known for making the iPhone, the person added.
It’s true that previous concerts on Apple Music have had no restrictions on either clothing or iPhone use. There are lots of smartphone-shot clips from concertgoers wearing shorts from Apple’s Apple Music Festival last September, for example.
So why the dress code for Thursday’s concert? One explanation is that the ticketing group responsible for the concert may have sent out an email with the restrictions before the band signed off on them. The show is at an unusual venue which is better known for hosting weddings.
But the other explanation is that this controversy is a big, manufactured joke to drum up publicity for the upcoming album, titled “Infinite Content.” The band has played jokes in the past, such as planting a fake tour rider, and has courted controversy over concert dress codes.
Here’s how Dazed Magazine explains that theory:
Back in 2013, the band faced criticism for requesting that their audience members adhere to a strict dress code when attending their North American arena tour (they later declared the dress code “super not mandatory”). So the latest controversy seems to be a metacommentary on a previous controversy, presumably designed to parody the sort of manufactured social media-friendly controversies that seem to always accompany major album campaigns, albeit as part of an actual campaign for their new album (which is out this Friday!!).