Arcade Fire Is Coming Back to New York, This Time Way Uptown

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Arcade Fire playing the Judson Memorial Church last month. Photo: AP


Arcade Fire played five shows in a Greenwich Village church last month, and now the band is set to announce tomorrow that it's coming back to New York at the beginning of May — and to an equally head-scratching venue: the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The former movie palace at Broadway at 175th Street — currently home of the Reverend Ike's Christ Community United Church — will start hosting rock shows next week, when Bloc Party becomes the first band to play the way-uptown venue. And Modest Mouse, Björk, and Iggy and the Stooges are booked there in the next few months. (Okay, fine: Arcade Fire is doing a Radio City show in May, too.)

Bloc Party's booking agent, Matt Hickey, likens United Palace this year to the McCarren Park Pool last summer. "A bunch of bands played there once Bloc Party went over there," he says. Of course, the McCarren is in Williamsburg. It's not a nearly 200-block subway ride from downtown. Does an uptown venue stand a chance? "We have the luxury with the Arcade Fire being in a position where people are not going to consider it too big a burden to go," says David Viecelli, who books shows for the band. "But there are some shows that would be successful at Hammerstein that will suffer up there in Washington Heights." But Albert Hammond Jr., the Strokes guitarist who'll be opening for Bloc Party in his solo incarnation, is unfazed: "I don't go up to 23rd Street as much as I don't go up there." —Amos Barshad