The Arcade Fire recently stumbled their way into backlash when they suggested a fan dress code for their upcoming world tour. They requested that attendees wear costumes or formal wear to the arena shows, a plea that irked many who paid a few hundred dollars for a ticket. Merge labelmates The Love Language are neither charging exorbitant prices for their upcoming two-night "winter formal" nor requiring people to look their best, though they are encouraging it: "Formal attire is NOT required, everyone is welcome," promotional copy reads. The relaxed requirements suit The Love Language, whose sometimes lavish records turn into more enthusiastic and unadorned live shows. At a recent surprise show at Chapel Hill's The Cave, the guitars rang out in perfectly heated harmony to Stu McLamb's voice, giving a garage rock edge to the band's pop classicism. Dress fancy, but perhaps prepare to get messy. Openers Sylvan Esso should help foster that vibe: One of the most promising new acts to appear in the Triangle within the last few years, the duo makes open-ended dance music, where beats big enough to be made for the radio and hooks that feel culled from living-room sing-alongs find unlikely synergy. They've just finished recording a debut album in Wisconsin, so keep an ear for new material as this year's calendar flips into the next.
—Grayson Haver Currin