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Arctics Monkeys, Phones4u Arena: Reviewed

David Blake ponders whether the boys can get any better than this

Written by . Published on October 25th 2013.


Arctics Monkeys, Phones4u Arena: Reviewed
 

IT IS testament to the Sheffield lads that, having consuming nearly all of the ale in Manchester, I can still vividly remember the vast majority of this gig.

For, if this was any run of the mill band at any run of the mill gig, it is highly likely that any memories of the performance would have listlessly swam off in that chronic wave of haze that frequently makes off with so many after-hours movements.

In terms of lyrical recollection, there are none quite as flawless as a Monkey’s disciple

In the cold hard light of the morning, the only question now hanging in the air after this almost seamlessly perfect performance is this: Where the bloody hell do the Arctic Monkeys go from here?

They’ve performed to an estimated 900 million people across the globe as part of the Olympic opening ceremony, headlined Glastonbury (again, but better), scored their fifth number one UK album with latest effort, AM, and have had critics positively salivating at their newly invigorated prowess, “It might be the greatest record of the last decade,” spouts NME’s Mike Williams.

Obviously he hasn’t heard Take Me Home.

Arctic MonkeysArctic Monkeys

Now I’ve seen the Arctic Monkeys a number of times over the years. But something’s changed. Confidence abounds. It’s as though the boys have only just realised the extent of their capability.

Turner leads from the front, where there once stood a painfully awkward Northern lad cast into the headlights of hype, there now stands a self-assured frontman, able to cajole and knead the crowd to his every whim. Even if he has developed an irksome Americanised twang.

Every band should attempt to open every gig with a song like Do I Wanna Know? The flagship track from their new album leaps from the stage with such bowel rumbling beauty that even the most indifferent spectator couldn’t help but be roused to rapture. If Churchill’s spirit lifting war time oratory could be put to music, the opening of this track would be it.

The precedent was set. There were to be no bums on seats for the length of the evening.

Sailing through the set with vigour, new tracks Snap Out Of It and Arabella are belted back at the stage alongside old favourites such as Dancing Shoes and Teddy Picker with such devoted word-for-word perfection that you’d have thought the new album had been out years. In terms of lyrical recollection, there are none quite as flawless as a Monkey’s disciple.

Predictably, the night’s most raucous reaction was reserved for the band’s 2005 debut single I Bet You Look Good On The DanceFloor, which is also possibly the last track in which you want to find yourself wedged between two mosh pits. The crowd had gone feral.

The only criticism of the night (and it’s particularly hard to find one) was the omission of the usual sweeping 505 crescendo, with the band opting instead for 70s inspired drum pounding rock-riffery of R U Mine. As far as encores go, this was heavier set and sweatier than most.

So, where to now? Well, the rest of the UK and then on to Europe through November touching down in American in December. I only wish I could go with them. But it’s hard to imagine the Arctic Monkey’s surpassing their current grade, they’ve reached the summit. For anyone that witnessed this gig would tell you that right now they’re the best live rock act the UK has to offer.

At a time when there seems to be a certain indifference held towards guitar music following the burst of the heavily oversubscribed noughties skinny-jeaned over-produced shaky (and mostly crap) indie band bubble, the Monkey’s have endured, getting slicker, bigger, heavier, wiser, and just better.

The thing about the Artic Monkey’s is people don’t just like them, people like Arcade Fire, people like Mumford and Sons, people even like Elbow, but people f**king love the Arctic Monkeys. Unless you don’t, but then you’re an idiot.

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Stephen LakeOctober 25th 2013.

Easily the best band I've seen at the Arena. Definitely heavier than old. Not surprising seeing how they've been working with Josh Homme. A real treat was the little snippet of Black Sabbath War Pigs they slipped in. Seamless.

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