Monday, 25 June 2018

One giant step for the Arctic Monkeys

From kagoule wearing teens to Hollywood dwelling cosmonauts, there are few bands who’ve morphed in the same way as Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys.

There are also few who we’ve grown with, who’ve soundtracked so many moments, where we can mistily of eye claim to have been there at the beginning (we were – for a bit – but so was everyone else in Sheffield – so it’s no bigs - well it is a little bit to us).

Now they’re grown hair on their faces and developed a taste for Led Zeppelin-esque fashion but they’re still great. Latest album, Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino, initially divided but has subsequently conquered with its out-there collection of immaculately tailored songs, shifting more vinyl copies than anything else for years and is their most complete work to date.

Like their new wardrobes, it’s some distance from those initial teenage rushes of Fake Tales of San Francisco. You can’t help thinking that if you’d shown the young Alex Turner a picture of his adult self and the style tips he’s been taking, he would have snorted with derision. He might have also snorted if you’d said they’d been playing the Royal Albert Hall but the other Thursday we were among the lucky few thousand to pack into the venue for their first gig back on UK soil.

Organised at the lastish minute for War Child, this charity affair was two hours of new stuff and old stuff led by frontman Alex Turner. While the crowd was made up of lads in shades and Oasis style do's still lusting for the past, the band sounded like they'd gone into the future, and didn't let the pressure drop under the towering roof of the iconic venue. The new material, initially obtuse and difficult to crack, is now up there with their best and have given them a platform to achieve lift off in any direction they want. Boom! We left sweaty and pissed which is the best way to enjoy anything... Phew. One of the best gigs we'd ever been to? You'd better believe it...