The Last Shadow Puppets

A suitably monumental setting for a few lessons in rock’n’roll history and their final (for now) shows. New York City (October 30)

It probably seems like half a lifetime ago for Miles Kane and Alex Turner, but barely eight months have passed since The Last Shadow Puppets made their clandestine live debut in this very town, battling to make their spellbindingly elegant pop songs heard above all manner of obnoxious pricks yelling for a quick verse of ‘When The Sun Goes Down’. That giant, simian spectre could have easily smothered the duo at birth but as they bid farewell (for the short term at least), it’s clear these boys have cast their own sizeable shadow over British music.

Having made the rapid rise from underdog balladeers to a mini-Rat Pack for the MySpace generation, it’s no wonder The Last Shadow Puppets look so confident.

Kane strides onstage tonight with all the poise of a lost Gallagher brother, and while the spectacle of 1,500 rabid fans is small fry to Alex Turner, he’s also enjoying commanding such an audience without being contractually obliged to sing about scummy men and dancefloors. It’s a shared belief that helps openers ‘In My Room’ and ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ sound utterly colossal.

Fuelled by their 16-piece orchestra and James Ford’s galloping drums, these songs roar with a sense of cinematic drama that couldn’t have been harnessed any better if they’d got Martin Scorsese in to do the lights.

It’s no surprise to see them performing every song on the debut album with much aplomb, but the chemistry between Kane and Turner is exemplified by the covers they cherry-pick from the top of the rock history tree. The doo-wop take on Leonard Cohen’s ‘Memories’ is impressive, while Bowie’s ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’ is so convincing even the Thin White Duke himself has publicly extolled it. But it’s the fearless version of The Beatles’ ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ that truly demonstrates how tall the Puppets stand right now; Kane and Turner take turns crooning beautifully, the band creating the wall of sound behind them and in just a few minutes, they’ve taken us closer to the magic of Lennon/McCartney than Oasis have ever managed.

For now, then, it’s farewell. Suffice to say that next time Arctic Monkeys hit the Big Apple there’ll be plenty of people yelling for ‘Standing Next To Me’.

Hardeep Phull