Indie bands, internet videos and celebrity cameos: Arcade Fire’s horror flick “Festi”

Jared Hemming

This Halloween, Arcade Fire shared “Festi,” a 21-minute long spooky mini-movie about singer Win Butler’s fear of joining the 27 Club of tragically dead musicians after turning 27 while on the band’s 2011 festival tour.

 

The movie, which features appearances by James Murphy, Fleet Foxes, Andrew Garfield and the National, arrives in the wake of last fall’s “Here Comes the Night Time,” a hilarious and weird live performance video that featured cameos from Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and even Bono.

 

“Festi” is another in an ongoing ploy by rock bands today creating viral-worthy videos featuring out-of-left-field cameo appearances by celebrities you wouldn’t expect.

 

To a certain extent, bands employing their famous fans feels like a little pandering; the if-we-throw-a-bunch-of-random-celebrities-into-our-video formula sometimes comes off as a joke without a punchline, like the audience is laughing simply at the surprise.

 

But the joke is often delivered well: Odd Future’s “The Ghost of the Hotel” utilized the famous faces tactic simply by employing the Wolf Gang’s most compelling faces.

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not ragging on Arcade Fire. In fact, “Festi” is great, and its interesting that musicians are utilizing the long-form video and short-film mediums to communicate with their fans. It’s fascinating to see bands like Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon and others balance the line between humor and randomness.

 

For the best example of a band nailing its comedic chops, check out Vampire Weekend’s hilarious and awkward encounter with actor (and distant cousin) Steve Buscemi, in promotion for last year’s instant classic “Modern Vampires of the City.”