Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review // Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The lovely people at Domino sent me to watch Arctic Monkeys on their AM tour last week, I'm obviously biased and almost cried three times but in all seriousness, my boys have still got it. My review is now live on Artrocker here or you can cop a sense of the amazing show below!
Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The re-branding of Manchester arena’s usually canary-yellow exterior, transitioning over to project immense logos’ of a certain mobile phone company famous for it’s hand-signalling jingle, was always going to be a strange sight to get used to- yet, this is corporate branding and advertising at it’s peak and what else did you expect? Look around, simple cotton t-shirts hitting the twenty-five pounds mark (And that’s from just tonight’s opening act The Strypes…) and if you’re after a pint during one of the gig’s intervals, you better be prepared to que for half an hour, hand over that crisp fiver and not expect a shrapnel of change back. If only the old Sheffield boys could see themselves now…
Entering the venue though the city’s Victoria Railway station, as thousands upon thousands of individuals pool in and enlist themselves into the nearest snaking que, there isn’t just the usual sleek femme fatales and bowl-cut boys polishing off their mac coats for the occasion, as we spy. Amongst the plethoral swarm lies families with children in attendance that look as if they were actually born post- ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’, along with the expected congregation of leather-clad fashionistas and the odd Dad on hand to chaperone, hopefully leaving their unappreciated dancing at the door. Even before we’ve taken to our seats, there is no denying precisely how much Arctic Monkeys have blossomed and adapted, in a formative seven years since their debut release.
With three-quarters of the quartet gracing the stage suited and booted (It’s ok Matt, we imagine it’s quite the challenge drumming in a double-breasted number…), quad screen set-ups with individual portraits of each member horizontally span, accompanying a swaggering, brooding and bold introduction of ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. Before the astronomical audience, phones in the air bouncing to every beat get straight into ‘AM’ mode, renditions of ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’ really do deliver as electric and strikingly rolling, as they did upon their first listens of yesteryear. ‘Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair’ urges the audience to coo a range of ‘Oooh’s and ‘Yeah’s, whilst Alex Turner cheekily sculpts his greased-up quiff initiating the Macarena, whilst Helder’s lightening beats blister out from behind his 0114 duct-taped kick-drum. See that’s the thing about these ‘Monkeys’, they may have been arena-worthy for what feels like a lifetime now, yet they never have yet forgotten to bring their personality to the forefront, with Turner’s light cockiness sometimes being construed for arrogance, but does it really matter when they write, perform and interact better than ever before?
Latest single ‘One For The Road’ is elevated with a whole new stronghold of elegance and croon-ready slickness, even if that is a noticeable American twang we can hear sneaking on through- and as one spectator in front of us exclaimed “This is better than seeing John Lennon on ice!”, we really couldn’t agree any more. As ear-splitting encore roars present themselves, the bulb-dotted sky-scraper initials that tower over illuminate, to welcome in a shoo-wopping rendition of ‘Snap Out Of It’ and a semi-acoustic interpretation of ‘Cornerstone’, cheekily altered by ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ come its execution. As metallic ticker tape rains all over the mammoth venue, our favourite Yorkshire boys we realise, have really only just hit their peak. Listeners’ of the Arctic’s music cannot simply request their indie classics over and over again and by managing to expand, flourish and experiment whilst never straying too far from their formula that works, it is an exciting sight to behold as they strike record number five off their lists with pride.

Words by Yours Truly X

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