Note: This article was taken from my blog in case of any confusion with the tone/format. Enjoy!
Admittedly, the late summer of last year was the first time of my life in which I set out to experience a 'proper' gig. This may seem small-talk from a writer specialising in music reviews, however witnessing British home-grown rockers Arctic Monkeys had hit the spot for both my first live show and the final façade of the grand Earl's Court Arena.
During the hype of the announcement of their UK tour, to celebrate the release of their fifth studio album 'AM', I couldn't help but wonder if these Sheffield showmen could live up to the greats who had once sparked the capacious arena: fellow Northerners Oasis and Queen to name but a few. What's more was that the scheduled decommissioning of the Court Arena soon after entailed a fond farewell was fitting; little did I know that the great British lads would bring the house down in style. Nevertheless I purchased a ticket, I decided to Suck It and See.
Having followed the rigorous routine of various Underground trains, the anticipation of excitable Monkeys could be felt pulsing through the runway leading up to the temple of Britain's finest. After the customary drinks and pre-gig banter, the uncountable fans and I spilled into the cavernous hall, to be greeted by Irish baby-band The Strypes. The Beatles-flavoured boys provided a warm welcome to the arena, compiling funky riffs and blues-fuelled solos, ultimately putting on a damn good show. However when lead guitarist Josh McClorey asked the sea of rippling fans, "Are you excited for Arctic Monkeys, yeah?" the thousands of screams rattling the rafters told me I was in for a treat.
And indeed a treat I was in for. The swashbuckling Elvis-injected frontman Alex Turner, alongside his fellow primates Matt (drummer), Nick (bassist) and Jamie (guitarist), straddled the Court's stage for one of her final times. Turner himself was donning a scorching white suit, reminiscent of a Transfiguration type of appearance. A 2 minute intro later, the boys exploded into the show with their album-defining tune 'Do I Wanna Know'. Having continued with ecstatic hit 'Brianstorm', Turner was forced to intervene with the fluorescent adolescents who were partying too hard below the stage, midway through the title.
To conclude the LED-infested display, having presented classic tunes including 'Cornerstone' and the dark, abrasive 'Crying Lightning', the Arctics left us with a serene, half-orchestral serenade. The encore beginning with 'AM' record 'Snap Out of It', the lads followed up with a down-paced, emotive variation of debut album stealing 'Mardy Bum'. But the Monkeys didn't let this set the tone for the evening. Oh no. Just when we thought it was all over, the electrified spectators were obliterated by a stand-out hardcore expression of 2013 hit single 'R U Mine?', to leave the audience petrified by the unique, iconic sound of one of Britain's best-loved bands of the century.
A performance not unlike their star-studded revival at Glastonbury last year, the boys from Sheffield proved that, to paraphrase their Brit Awards speech, rock-and-roll isn't dead.