After playing one of their greatest ever gigs last Friday when they headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, you may ask where Arctic Monkeys go next? Do they now just phone in performances, knowing they are never going to emulate THAT brilliant gig? Nah, of course not, that’s not who the Monkeys are. Instead they turn in another supreme performance; reiterating the point that they are a band worthy of undying adulation.
Just like Glastonbury last week, the Arctic Monkeys weren’t the initial top drawer talking point. That, of course, went to Blur who played their first ever gig in Poland the night before. But after storming through a set of their now eclectic back-catalogue, the only names on people’s lips are Alex Turner, Jamie ‘Cookie’ Cook, Nick O’Malley and Matt Helders.
Playing an identical set as their Pyramid Stage performance last week, minus the expense of a string section for ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘Mardy Bum’, the band opened their set with stunning new song ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ – the first track to be taken from their forthcoming new album ‘AM’. “Good evening everyone, we are the Arctic Monkeys from Sheffield, England,” drawled frontman Alex Turner, dressed in a black and white pinstripe suit jacket and smart trousers with his quiff perfectly sculptured, during the middle of second song ‘Brianstorm’, as the dark, stormy clouds overheard began to clear. “Gydina! How ya feeling everybody?” he added before launching into ‘Dancing Shoes’.
A lot has been said recently about Alex Turner’s voice, and he’s been on the receiving end of criticism for exchanging his natural Sheffield accent for a more Stateside twang. Tonight, he continued with his new stage persona and accentuated every syllable with an American cadence. “Thankyerverymuch”, he said in an Elvis-like drawl before the band played ‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I Moved Your Chair’.
That song was followed by ‘Teddy Picker’, which segued into ‘Crying Lightening’, before the band played ‘Brick By Brick’ – possibly the weakest song in their set – and debut album highlight ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’. “I’m gonna play some ‘Humbug’ music,” said Turner before ‘Pretty Visitors’. “Some of that full moon music for ya!” he added as he snarled the opening lyrics of the song.
Of course, just like Glastonbury, one of set’s biggest moments came during ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, as thousands of fans screamed back the lyrics as though they were written especially for them, while mosh pits erupted down the front. Surprisingly, ‘R U Mine?’ was greeted with the same fervour. In fact, the crowd reacted more favourably to the Monkeys’ newer tracks than their older classics, unlike back home in Britain – especially for brand new song ‘Mad Sounds’.
Ending their main set with ‘A Certain Romance’ – before returning for ‘Cornerstone’, ‘Mardy Bum’, ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘505’ – the band have only grown stronger from headlining Glastonbury last weekend. This was them, once again, full of confidence. The Rolling Stones are currently celebrating ’50 Years And Counting’; it won’t be a surprise if the Arctic Monkeys achieve a similar celebratory hallmark. If the past week is anything to go by, this juggernaut will keep on rolling.