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Cage Match: Arcade Fire vs. Sufjan Stevens

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Rs_lSo I’ve been thinking more about that Arcade Fire show I went to see last week, and I can’t free myself from this idea that, in the universe of indie bands, there are some that are trying to share the same patch of musical real estate… although there may be room for only one group on that patch.

Case in point: The Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers.

Think about it. Both groups sing artsy, sensitive songs using a variety of adorably retro instruments. Both have at least 10 members on stage at any time. Both suffer from an overabundance of sincerity.

But in a cage match, who would win? Let’s evaluate.

Fighting Power
Arcade Fire: Rage; existential pain
Sufjan: Jesus
Advantage: Sufjan

Arcade Fire: Rage; existential pain
Sufjan: Jesus; the 50 states
Advantage: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire: Pipe organ; giant silver stand-up bass; accordian; angry Butler brother
Sufjan: Xylophone; very pretty women with shiny hair
Advantage: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire: None
Sufjan: Cheerleading sweaters; pom-poms
Advantage: Sufjan

addCredit(“Chassagne: Kelly A. Swift/Retna; Stevens: Rahav Segev/NY Times/Retna“)

Lead Singer Charisma
Arcade Fire: Win Butler’s rictus mask; Régine Chassagne’s (pictured, left) evil fairy thing
Sufjan: Sufjan’s (pictured, right) acne-free choir-boy complexion
Advantage: Arcade Fire, unless we are shooting a Noxzema commercial

Arcade Fire: head thrashing; megaphone shouting; singalongs in middle of crowd
Sufjan: Jesus says no dancing
Advantage: Arcade Fire

Clearly, the Arcade Fire could kick Sufjan’s ass.

And there you have it! The first-ever PopWatch Battle of the IndieBands for the Same Patch of Galactic Hipster Real Estate. Note the wayI have not pointed out the way Broken Social Scene’s Leslie Feist andEmily Haines could blow every person in both of these bands away withone cock of a sassy hip, thus making all the rest of the categoriesmoot.

Did I call this one right, PopWatchers? Choose sides! And who else could use a cage match to determine indie supremacy?