Cards on table, I wasn’t sure whether Arctic Monkeys were going to pull it off on the Main Stage at Leeds last night. I love ‘Humbug’ like I love Haribo Starmix, and their o2 Academy Brixton show was exactly the kind of grand reinvention that you expect from a band on their third album. But putting yourself up there for a headline show, and declaring some of your most popular songs to be ‘dead’? Really? Is this a good idea?
Yet from the moment they lurched in with ‘My Propeller’, Alex all lugubrious in leather and ridiculous shades, it was obvious that this was going to be fine. A cover of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ later, and Bramham Park was in the palm of the Monkeys’ hands (if not the the jeweller’s ones).
Exhibit 3: ‘Crying Lightning’, the supposedly ‘grower’ of a single had now sufficiently grown to be a shrieked at the top of the voices of the sort of girls that sit drunk on the tops of people’s shoulders pulling their tops up for the cameras. Career suicide? Really?
Oh, and we got ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Still Take You Home’ and ‘Flourescent Adolescent’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’. From where I was standing, those songs didn’t sound particularly dead. They were brought back to life, in fact, by the band’s new hoary muscular direction.