Arcade Fire perform on livestream to unveil first image of Sagittarius A* black hole

The new discovery shares its name with a track on the band's sixth album 'WE'

Arcade Fire performed as part of a livestream to unveil the first image of the black hole at the centre of the galaxy – watch below.

The picture was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes. Known as Sagittarius A*, the object is four million times the mass of the Sun.

“These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very centre of our galaxy, and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings,” said EHT Project Scientist Geoffrey Bower.

Advertisement

Coincidentally, ‘Sagittarius A*’ is the subtitle of a song on Arcade Fire’s new album ‘WE’ (‘End Of The Empire IV’). It includes the lyrics: “Sagittarius A/ We’ll see one day/ What’s on the other side.”

The Canadian band were invited to participate in a press conference during which the EHT presented their findings from the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Germany.

Frontman Win Butler appeared on the broadcast alongside his bandmate and wife Regine Chassagne to perform stripped-back renditions of ‘End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)’ and the ‘WE’ title track.

“To me, it’s almost symbolic,” Butler said ahead of the performance. “There’s so much we don’t know about ourselves and our planet.

“When I was reading about Sagittarius A it just spoke to me as this enormous thing at the centre of our galaxy that we don’t understand that we’re trying to understand better.”

Advertisement

He continued: “The sense of collaboration it takes to get these images – it transcends international borders and it’s in all of humanity’s common interest. It’s important to look up at the stars to get out of our own heads.”

Following the appearance, Arcade Fire shared the black hole image on Twitter. “[It’s] a testament to what we can accomplish together as humanity,” Butler wrote. “Perhaps ‘We’ll see one day, what’s on the other side.'”

He added: “Thank you so much @ESO for the invitation to perform, it was an honor.” You can watch the performance in the video above at the one-hour-13-minutes mark, and see the group’s tweets below.

Elsewhere, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy responded to the black hole image as a nod to the trio’s 2006 hit single ‘Supermassive Black Hole’. “Knew she’d show up one day,” he wrote on social media.

Speaking to NME for Arcade Fire’s recent Big Read interview, Win Butler said that the band are hoping to execute “the definitive Arcade Fire tour” later this year.

The ‘WE’ world tour will kick off in Dublin on August 30, with UK and European dates following in September. Tickets go on general sale at 10am local time today (May 13), and you can purchase them here.

Advertisement
Advertisement