Having not missed a Melbourne show from these Sheffield lads since they first burst onto the scene in 2006 (playing a show in St Kilda at the now cinders and ashes Palace Complex), I wasn’t about to miss their show at the venue of the same name, albeit now located in Bourke Street.
Suck It And See was my favourite album of 2011 and after catching the 2nd half of Miles Kane‘s set I was ready to hear how the songs scrubbed up live.
Thinking back to that first show in 2006, and even the shows they’ve played since, it’s evident that this is a band growing in confidence, musical ability, and with a now diverse songwriting style. The bass heavy Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair is a great opener – a song that’s more Supergrass than Arctic Monkey’s-by-numbers, and from the lush red velvet stage backdrop to Alex Turner‘s new 50′s inspired brylcream-smeared haircut, they’ve grown up.
It’s still the up-tempo manic drumming of Matt Helders that gets the crowd going the most. Teddy Picker, the superb Brianstorm and Library Pictures get the room moving uncontrollably. No longer one trick ponies though, more melodic tunes like the Suck It And See gem The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and Humbug‘s 2009 lead-off single Crying Lightning share the set beautifully with staples like I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, Still Take You Home and When The Sun Goes Down.
Miles Kane joins Turner and the Monkeys on stage for B-Side Little Illusion Machine, and it’s a move that breaks the frenzy the earlier tunes have created. Probably something to re-assess – Kane has an undeniable stage presence, and his interplay with good mate Turner is strong, but sadly the song simply isn’t. (more…)
The UK’s most hyped band of the last 12 months finally made their way to Melbourne on the 2nd of August. I went along to St Kilda to check them out..
“Monkeys…Mokeys…Monkeys…”. By 10:15 support act The Grates had stopped their 45 minutes of shreiking and jumping around on stage. A group of us wondered where one song stopped and the other started with each treble driven lo-fi riff blending into another. Still, we hadn’t come to see them.
The Arctic Monkeys are a quiet bunch. In fact if you didn’t have tickets to the shows in Australia there’s every chance you wouldn’t have known they were around. Building a reputation as “media shunners” (a stastical report in a UK newspaper claimed they turn down 60% of press requests), the Monkeys were here to play some songs for their fans.
With only one full length album and an EP to draw from, they managed to belt out a fantastic set list that gave the crowd equal opportunity to both smash into one another and have a 1500 person strong sing-a-long.
The sound suffered badly for the first few songs, though it sounded like the techies eventually found the switch to lower the volume of new band member Nick O’Malley‘s bass (previous bass player Andy Nicholson left the band in May 2006 citing “exhaustion” at the ripe old age of 19). We all love a bit of bass, but it was seriously muddying the sound.
Lead singer Alex Turner got the crowd cranked up with the massive album opener The View From The Afternoon, the floor swimming with a sea of jumping bodies. It was almost like the band got their slowest song (and one of their best) Riot Van out of the way early and just cranked it up from there.
The funky Dancing Shoes was a huge highlight, as was being surrounded by a bunch of people who knew just about every song (and weren’t just there to hear I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor or When The Sun Goes Down).
The band don’t exude a heap of confidence on stage, lead singer alex rarely breaking into anything more than a mumble when speaking to the crowd. It’s the first world tour though, they’re 19 years old, and the songs get them through. Strange though for a band whose music is so dynamic, loud and fast even, to be so rooted to the spot when they play. Perhaps somewhere between the hyperactivity of their opening support act and their current stage manner would be a better show.
Great setlist though, Fake Tales of San Francisco is a cracking tune.
- Riot Van
- The View From The Afternoon
- Still Take You Home
- You Probably Couldn’t See…
- Cigarette Smoker Fiona
- Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…
- Dancing Shoes
- Who The F#ck Are Arctic Monkeys
- I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
- From Ritz To The Rubble
- Leave Before The Lights Come On
- Fake Tales Of San Francisco
- Mardy Bum
- When The Sun Goes Down
- A Certain Romance
Will be interesting to see if the Monkeys are around for the long haul. Some British Indie bands of the past have cranked out sensational first albums, put on some great shows, and then faded into oblivion as fast as they arrived. You just get the feeling though with the Arctic Monkeys that they want to be big, and they want their music to be heard by as many people as possible. They don’t want to be an obscure garage band striving to be “troubled” and “misunderstood”. The fact that they released their first album Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not via their website for free download to anyone is testament to that.
Fantastic show, hope these guys are around for many years to come and keep on playing live.