Arcade Fire fans (that includes you, Rosie O’Donnell!) might want stick around in Austin after SXSW this year. The Grammy-winning band — well, four of them at least, including Win Butler, Régin Chassagne, Will Butler, and Marika Anthony-Shaw — will be lecturing at the University of Texas at Austin March 19. As one of Arcade Fire’s community fan pages on Facebook pointed out yesterday (via Pitchfork), the foursome will discuss with students (and, likely, all the music journalists already in Austin, disguised as students) the socioeconomic crisis still faced by Haitian citizens in the years following that 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left the country in shambles in 2010. At the time of the disaster, Arcade Fire teamed with charity Partners in Health and actually traveled down to volunteer. The band’s ties to Haiti run deep; Chassagne is of Haitian descent.
The Internet is of course speculating the timing of this lecture is not random, so keep your eyes peeled at SXSW. If the band isn’t joining some big name onstage at a secret show (Jack White?), you can bet they’ll be wandering around the streets of Austin, unintentionally begging surprised fans to mob them. So once you’ve defeated the hangover from SPIN’s 2012 party at Stubb’s the Friday before, you might want to pop on down to UT Austin’s Student Activity Center (located, according to the official event page, at Speedway and Inner Campus Drive, right by Gregory Gym) to wrangle one of 967 tickets for the Thompson Conference Center event out of that poor, overwhelmed work-study desk attendant.
In other Arcade Fire news, the band’s contribution to T. Bone Burnett’s March 20 soundtrack to the upcoming movie version of The Hunger Games has finally surfaced. “Abraham’s Daughter” ought to please the New York Times columnist and huge Chassagne fan Paul Krugman, because it puts the women of Arcade Fire right out in front, as what begins as an old-timey anthem with a vaguely martial tilt transforms into seething electro-rock. Have a listen over at Entertainment Weekly, where Win Butler explains that the group was trying to capture a feeling similar to hearing Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a Film)” at the end of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Spoiler alert: They both die! Stay tuned for Arcade Fire’s second contribution to the film, “Horn of Plenty.”