Arcade Fire: Dublin gig-goers react to ‘shocking’ sexual misconduct allegations against Win Butler

Adesewa Awobadejo asks fans at the 3Arena their views on stories about Arcade Fire’s frontman

Arcade Fire opened up their “We” tour tonight in the 3Arena, Dublin. The band has been in the news this week as a result of sexual misconduct allegations against band frontman Win Butler. Three women and one non-binary person have accused Butler of taking advantage of his fame and their fandom, including sending unwanted sexual messages, during incidents from 2015 to 2020. Butler has denied the allegations, claiming the relationships were consensual, and saying he was “very sorry to anyone who I have hurt with my behaviour”.

The Irish Times spoke to few fans outside the 3Arena before the first of two Dublin shows, and here’s what they had to say:

Paddy, Derry

What can you expect from the show? I’ve never seen them before but I’ve been a fan of them for a while so it’s exciting to be at the first concert of the tour. I love their new albums it’s one of my favourite Arcade Fire albums in a while. I’m really hoping the show incorporates some of those themes.

What do you make of the allegations against Win Butler? I’ve never heard of them until now but I think those things need to be taken very seriously because the band has a very socially conscious network and following. I would hope they do everything possible to find out the truth and I hope they can to get to the bottom of it. The Killers are a similar band who have had certain things come up and they’ve stopped things, conducted investigations. I certainly hope Arcade Fire they do the same and if something is found I hope he’s treated like anyone else.

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David and Teigan, Dublin

How long have you been a fan? I’ve been a fan of them for a long time. This my third time seeing them. I’m here with my daughter for the first time.

Did you hear about the allegations about Win Butler? No. That’s shocking. I don’t know what goes on and doesn’t go on but that’s a shock to hear. I just want it to be an experience for me and my daughter. This is our first gig together.

Paul, Derry

How long have you been a fan? Since their second album Neon Bible so about 12 years.

What do you expect from the show? Their music is great but they also put on a theatrical show. I’m looking forward to singing their new album.

What did you make about the allegations against Win Butler? I heard about them but I didn’t investigate them so I would just say innocent until proven guilty. My wife told me about it but I didn’t really want to read it, so it wouldn’t spoil tonight.

Did you consider not coming? No.

Moana and Sebastian, Switzerland

How long have you been a fan? Many years. Maybe 10-15 years.

What do you hope to see tonight? Some old songs and not only the new album. It’s the first show so I hope it is powerful.

Were you aware of the allegations against Win Butler? No. It doesn’t sound like good news though.

Anonymous, Louth

What are you looking forward to tonight? I’m actually Canadian so I’ve been a fan for the longest time. I’m looking forward to their new and old songs. Their new album is interesting but I know they always play some classics.

What was your initial reaction to the allegations? My initial reaction was “I hope it’s not as bad as the headline sounds”. After reading the Pitchfork report it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but ... Even though I’ve been following them for a long while, it was never their personalities that attracted me to them. It was a strange thing to read. The timing was a bit questionable. It felt like it was boiling under the surface for a while and then it just came out just 48 hours before their tour started.

Were you considering not coming? No. We bought the tickets on Friday and this came out either on Saturday or Sunday so we were just hoping it didn’t get cancelled.

Dáibhid, Derry

What are your hopes for tonight? This is my first time seeing them so I’m expecting a fantastic stage performance. Lots of lights and something theatrical, that’s what I’ve seen of their other stuff. I’m expecting to see quite a visual experience along with the music rather than just the band playing music on stage.

Are you aware of the allegations against win Butler? I am, I read an article about it this morning. It’s the first I’ve heard about it. If it’s true it’s very unfortunate and if it isn’t, I’m sure it’ll get cleared up at some point. You’d like to imagine the people you look up to and take inspiration from artistically aren’t terrible people but that’s the thing about the music industry ... stuff like that is quite common.

Anonymous, Dublin

Are you a fan? Yes, but I don’t really know much about them now. I haven’t actually heard much of their last couple of albums. I’m a big fan of their first couple of albums. Their first four albums were probably their biggest.

What do you make of the allegations against Win Butler? It affects what I think about him, but not the band. I won’t, like, revoke my ticket now. Sure, there’s about 14 people up there.