It’s the quintessential indie-pop banger, the breakneck missive that heralded the arrival of Arctic Monkeys, debuted at No.1 and helped their album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ become fastest selling debut LP of all time in January 2006. It’s also a song the band has revisited throughout their stellar career, despite having gone through several stylistic changes. Now they’re back with divisive (we reckon it’s brilliant) sixth album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino‘, and you’d better believe the Monkeys have dusted off ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and given it a new set of threads. Here are six times Arctic Monkeys have performed their debut single – always a little different, always enough to make you wanna hit your local rubbish club to meet the future love of your life.
It’s wild to think that the Monkeys headlined Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in 2007, just a year after the release of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not . It’s even weirder that this rendition of a scuzzy indie-pop song about sticky Sheffield dancefloors sounds so great on a massive open-air stage, but such is the magic of Alex Turner and co. Note the aggressive way Turner yells “BANG!” in the middle of the song. They were very much still unruly upstarts from High Green at this stage.
Royal Albert Hall, 2010
“It’s a song that’s been very good to me and the boys,” Alex notes here, tongue firmly in cheek. Despite him fluffing the first word of the second verse, this is arguably the most thrilling version of the song on this list: lean, fast, spirited and – above all – fun. But what’s that bit about at the start when Alex says, “It’s usually start it off by shouting, ‘Laaaaaaadies!'”? He sounds like a DJ in a shit provincial nightclub.
BBC Radio One Live Lounge, 2013
Three years later, and things have become very polished indeed. Looking fly in a leather jacket, Turners a super-slick rendition of the song – the croaky, breathless vocals of yore are long gone, replaced by something suspiciously close to a croon. Which makes sense, considering the band had upped stick to LA and become slinky lounge lizards on fourth fifth album AM, released the same year as this performance. Check out the mega-Yorkshire way Turner shout “Alreeeeet!” at one point, though. Might someone have been feeling a little self-conscious about his new guise?
The band made a glorious return to Glastonbury in 2013, underlying just how far they’d progressed since that first headline slot in 2007. They’re suited and booted and when Turner talks he sounds curiously like a northern Elvis impersonator, but the Arctic Monkeys haven’t forgotten their roots: Matt Helders is still repping the Sheffield dialling code 0114 on his drumkit. Ah yes, and there’s Turner repeating his “LAAAAADIES” call, this time sounding like Noddy Holder.
2014, Pinkpop festival
Performing at Pinkpop in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, Turner precedes this version of the song with a very strange intro, saying, “Shhhh… shhhh… BOO!”. With his slicked back hair and creepy demeanour, he brings to mind the Count from Sesame Street. The following Dancefloor is distinctly odd, the intro slowed right down, the guitar lead jazzier than usual and the groove sexed up. There really is no going back to being unruly upstarts from High Green now.
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Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 2018
Well, the 2018 incarnation of Turner and the gang is a little different, eh? They made their comeback with a dazzling album of shimmering guitar ballads wrapped up in gorgeous sci-fi sound effect, threaded through with delicate lyrics about space travel and matters of the heart. The band have grown up since 2006 – Alex has beard! – and this rendition at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (in Los Angeles) is suitably slowed down, replete with Alex’s self-mocking dance moves and, at the 1.51 minute mark, a moment where he absent-mindedly knives the guitar string to create a striking, discordant blast that leads back into the chorus. The track remains an old friend that always delivers.