Arctic Monkeys London Gig (Gig Review)
I seem to remember some time ago, a small, very humble little group making a name for themselves on social media, I think it was via MySpace (who remembers MySpace? Sorry kids, it was like Facebook but then the idiots who run The Sun bought it and turned it in to a classified board). Arctic Monkeys had no record deal, no PR and no real music industry contacts. They did this the hard way. They put their music out there themselves and hoped to be discovered.
There can be many stories around what happened and many people or events that could be the catalyst. But for many, the story began when legendary Radio 1 DJ, Chris Moyles backed them. This got their music to a mainstream and the mass market took notice. Before any NME reading music nerds stand up and correct me, I am not saying Moyles discovered them or was the first to play them, I am merely pointing out this was a catalyst behind the revolution.
A lot has happened for the boys since then. Not least they have joined the glitterati and made the move to LA. Partly due to being in the right place for industry contacts, but largely to help their cause in selling records in the US. At the moment Brits are doing well state side, but we normally only hear of the real pop performers, the likes of One Direction and Adele, but the Arctic Monkeys are also doing very well over there, thank you very much.
This gig in London’s Finsbury Park, kicked off London’s season of outdoor gigs and festivals. The atmosphere and crowd were of such and ilk, that you could be confused for thinking you were at a festival, albeit a pretty much one horse festival.
My firm belief is that Arctic Monkeys, despite great record sales, are a band made for live performances. I would probably go as far as to say, a band made for large outdoor performances. Less than a year after they topped the bill at Glastonbury, Arctic Monkeys have enjoyed perhaps the most successful spell of their already illustrious careers. This is again backed up by success stateside, where they are taking award after award and demolishing all their rivals in their category.
Its more than that though. Arctic Monkeys now feel much more like they belong at the top table of music. Earlier in their creation, they came across as a shy and humble outfit. Almost apologetic for their success. Something changed and they now have an element of swagger and confidence, that never borders on arrogance. They have managed to channel this new found belief in to stellar live performances.
This can be seen in the renaissance of front man Alex Turner who performed with an aura of a real rock star. There were glimpses of their true characters though, with long silences between tracks as opposed to the inane ramblings that a number of acts prefer. However, that to me, added to the impact of the music, giving it room to breath.
The crowd looked like one that wanted and expected to see a great show. They were not disappointed. From the gusto of Crying Lightning, to the sublime 505, which sounded as good live as it does recorded. The show was a tried and tested formula. If it was any other band this could be seen as a criticism, but for Arctic Monkeys, you know what you’re going to get and you know you will enjoy what you’re going to get.
Arctic Monkeys don’t get all the plaudits they deserve. They are quite simply one of the best british bands of the modern era (albeit exiled stateside).