Except for the signs, speechifying and time of day, it could've been any other rock show. Arcade Fire and Superchunk played a get-out-the-vote rally for presidential candidate Barack Obama today, drawing several thousand people to Carrboro Town Commons on an unseasonably warm afternoon.
"This is outside my demographic," said Paul Jones, 58, surveying the young-skewing crowd. "I'm hoping this gets hot enough for people to behave like they did in the '60s."
Nearby, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler chatted with fans and signed autographs over a fence beside the stage. Friday was Arcade Fire's first Triangle show since it reached No. 2 on the Billboard album charts last year.
"This came together kind of spontaneously for us," Butler said. "My experience with the Obama campaign has been very grassroots, that communal experience really fits what we're about as a band."
The atmosphere was casual without too much politicking besides sign-up sheets, although some fiery rhetoric preceded both bands' sets.
"I'm here for both the politics and the rock - the 'poli-rock,'" said Alex Maiolo, who sells insurance and plays in local rock bands. "I support Obama, but I'm absolutely psyched our little hamlet has two rock bands on a Friday afternoon. They should do this every month"
Friday was Superchunk's first hometown performance since 2006. The band was still amazingly tight, given how seldom they've played in recent years, blasting through 11 songs in a brisk 40 minutes. Arcade Fire played a slightly longer set, highlighted by an ace cover of David Bowie's "Heroes."