May 11, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 19
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Arctic Monkeys live up to superstar status with top notch show
Arctic Monkeys live up to superstar status with top notch show
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Arctic Monkeys May 3 @ The Showbox

We've come to expect great things from the Arctic Monkeys. And judging by the band's impressive, sharply executed performance at The Showbox a week ago, they hold themselves accountable to these same expectations.

The Sheffield, England-based quartet, fresh from an appearance at the Coachella Festival, jumped onstage barely after 10, a rarity at downtown clubs where headlining acts usually start at midnight. They opened with the minute-plus instrumental piece "If You Found This It's Probably Too Late" and then ripped into "Brianstorm", the first cut off their just-released sophomore offering Favourite Worst Nightmare. Right off the bat, they sounded amazing.

Alex Turner, lead Monkey and unintentionally cute geek, looked dapper in tight blue jeans, black button-down shirt, and a hairdo that would make the Fab Four proud. He was surely in a delightful mood, complimenting the sold out crowd on their let loose behavior. Indeed, this was a highly energetic audience. The wallflowers stayed home, much to my satisfaction.

Thursday night's show, which sold out the exact day tickets went on sale, combined music from the Arctic Monkeys' two albums, the already mentioned 'Nightmare' and last year's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2006).

Collectively, the songs on the new album are quieter than its predecessor, but they come to great life when performed in concert. "Balaclava" and "Flourescent Adolescent" were enthusiastically pleasing numbers, ones that I admittedly skipped on the CD and will go back to now and re-listen to. "Old Yellow Tricks", a vigorous track that did wonders for those bouncing up and down in the pit, was the best sounding cut from the fresh crop of Monkeys tunes.

From as far back as the soundboard, concertgoers were bobbing their heads, dancing, and raising their fists in the air. A pair of dudes standing near me sweated profusely from a session of light moshing. To my surprise, the house was comprised of teens, frat boys, and a significant percentage of middle-aged rockers - a sign that punk music draws fans of all ages.

Even though the newer material was well received, it was songs from the debut album that the audience went crazy for. "The View in the Afternoon" was wild and loud, "Dancing Shoes" got everybody swaying and shouting out the verses, and berserk is the appropriate word to describe the crowd's response to the heavy favorite "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor".

With only five songs left, Turner encouraged those clustered in the back bar sections to get "involved" and join the party on the main floor, although everyone pretty much stayed in the same spots. A portion of the audience left after "I Bet You Look on the Dance Floor", a lame thing to do if you ask me because the band was on a roll. Those who stayed for the entire show, concluding with a terrific rendition of "A Certain Romance", got their money's worth and then some.

Since late 2005, Arctic Monkeys have been giving rock fans and music media something to talk about. The group literally became an overnight success when they uploaded track samples onto the Internet without even being signed to a record label. In a matter of months, the twentysomething punk ensemble won Britain's prestigious Mercury Music Prize, earned two Grammy nominations, and sold out every concert from North America to Asia. Across the Atlantic, Arctic Monkeys are considered rock superstars.

Arctic Monkeys will continue touring North America through the end of May, then head back to Europe to headline a series of giant music festivals, including Pinkpop and T in the Park.

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