Arctic Monkeys Live Review

22 Nov

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(Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, 18th November)

It would have been understandable if the fans inside the Motorpoint Arena had held reservations about what was to come. After all, when the lead singer’s come down with Laryngitis just weeks before, you might be wondering if the gig would be a bit half-arsed, just completing their contact?

They needn’t have worried. From the start, it was clear all of the band were on fine form. The brooding glam rock of their first song, Do I Wanna Know, was almost drowned out by the crowd by cheers and people actually dancing instead of acting as Youtube cameramen.

It was also abundantly clear that the Sheffield band’s most recent album was the focus of the night. A whopping nine songs – almost half of the setlist – were taken from AM. It had been receiving rave reviews from critics and it was clear that the audience adored it just as much. Arabella, I Wanna Be Yours and One For the Road were all greeted by waves a cheering from fans that already knew every word. R U Mine, the last song in their encore, also remains a monster of song – possibly the most perfect one they’ve ever written.

Between the appreciation for the new album, the band managed to find time for a whirlwind tour of their hits. Quite a few songs from the middle period of their career were missed out, but who’s got time when the crowd’s holding a mass-singalong to I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor or swaying their lighters to Mardy Bum?

Even if Arctic Monkeys have already performed that setlist a dozen times before, the gig still felt special. There was a palpable sense of energy throughout, which was reciprocated by the audience.

Alex Turner has a reputation a stoic, restrained frontman, preferring to let his songs talk for him, however he was relatively chatty in Sheffield. Perhaps enjoying being back in his hometown, he seemed relatively chatty, asking the audience ‘Are you mine?’ and playfully telling them off when they began singing too early.

Although they didn’t bring any gimmicks like Muse or U2, Arctic Monkeys put on a hell of a live show. It was technically very proficient. With just some lights, a couple of small screens and a towering AM backdrop, they put on an incredible show where the stage always seemed to reflect the mood.

For some reason, the speakers mangled the sound for a couple of the subtler songs like Fireside, but it handled the louder ones brilliantly. The sound was at the perfect volume that encourages you to sing until your voice is raw.

Simply put, this good a band with such a magnificent back catalogue of songs can’t help but put on a hell of a show. Seven years of touring has made them into a well-oiled machine that knows exactly what crowds want.

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