Arctic Monkeys (UK)

whytearcticmonkeys_10[1]The UK’s most hyped band of the last 12 months finally made their way to Melbourne on the 2nd of August. The Palace Complex was to play host, otherwise known as ‘that place where they hold Twister’

“Monkeys…Mokeys…Monkeys…”. By 10:15 Patience Hodgson and her band The Grates had stopped their 45 minutes of shrieking and jumping around on stage. A disjointed set that had many wondering where one song stopped and the other started was over, and the stream of treble driven lo-fi riffs blending into each other was over.

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 statistical 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 Turner rarely breaks into anything more than a mumble when speaking to the crowd. It’s their 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.

  • 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

The years to come will prove interesting – will the Arctic Monkeys be around for the long haul? Many 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.

On tonight’s evidence, it would be hard to predict anything other than a growing fanbase for this four piece from Sheffield.



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