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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 12, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 32
More mature Arctic Monkeys deliver different sound
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More mature Arctic Monkeys deliver different sound

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Arctic Monkeys
August 10
The Showbox SoDo


The Arctic Monkeys who became overnight rock stars weren't the same Arctic Monkeys on stage Wednesday night at The Showbox SoDo. The punkish rascals from 2006 have gradually morphed into a full-on psychedelic, experimental act, and haven't looked back.

The Sheffield quartet opened with 'Library Pictures' off their forthcoming album, Suck It and See, and then slid right into 'Brianstorm' and 'This House is a Circus,' both from their sophomore release, Favourite Worst Nightmare. They looked and sounded different instantly. Lead singer Alex Turner, dressed in jeans and solid black T-shirt with greased-back hair, appeared to be channeling a scrawnier and paler version of the Fonz. Their sound was less fiery and more atmospheric, if not very retro.

'Still Take You Home,' from the Arctic Monkeys' debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, was a swell concoction of twang and gusto. It was near rockabilly.

'It's nice to see you all again,' said Turner to the sold-out crowd. 'Let's have some fun together.' Fun is exactly what the mostly young audience did have, and although they weren't unruly as I expected - or hoped - they would, there were a few risk-takers who attempted to mosh, surf, and otherwise misbehave. Not everyone was in their 20s - several middle-aged folks were scattered in the ripples of standing concertgoers that went all the way back to the venue's main entrance doors. In front of me, a father and not-yet-teenage son rocked out together by bobbing their heads in unison and punching their fists in the air.

'Crying Lightning,' despite its high-pitched keyboards, couldn't have been any cooler, while 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala' (don't ask me where they get these song titles) was surprisingly catchy.

Two popular favorites were performed back-to-back: 'The View from the Afternoon' and 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor.' Each got the crowd bouncing off the floor while simultaneously raising their hands, and here's where the old Arctic Monkeys kicked in - that bratty, raucous four-piece finally shed its mature, classic rock skin.

A really energetic rendition of 'When the Sun Goes Down' closed out the main set. Everybody shouted out the chorus and those at the foot of the stage had sweat dripping from their foreheads.

Arctic Monkeys began a three-song encore with the title track from the new recording, 'Suck It and See,' followed by a great run-through of 'Fluorescent Adolescent,' and then corked the performance with '505.'

Of Gay interest, guitarist Jamie Cook looked mighty fine in a pair of tight jeans and fitted denim jacket. Turner, on the other hand - usually nerdy cute - was a total miss with his greaser throwback appearance.

I give credit to the Arctic Monkeys for evolving, perhaps with mixed results. Regardless, they've made an effort to reinvent themselves. I just wish they hadn't grown up so fast.

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