Euphoric Arctic Monkeys fans carried on the party in the streets of Manchester singing the words of Mardy Bum after witnessing one of the modern British greats.
Ditching of the slick R’n’B influenced rock powerhouse that was AM (2013), years later they are back with Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino, their sixth album, which left fans and critics somewhat bemused. How can they go from the rock to an almost lounge piano,Bowie-esque record? Could they pull off the shift in sound of Tranquillity base onto an arena stage?
We went to check this out ourselves on their second night at Manchester Arena, the second night of an enormous 16 date arena tour across the UK.
The band walk onto a stage which was designed as their album artwork, the model of the Tranquillity Base Hotel. It provided as the picture-perfect backdrop for the Monkeys, especially frontman Alex Turner who had sported an all cream suit for the night.
They open with the funk groove and explosive chorus of Four Out Of Five, a fan favourite from their newest album which could be perceived through the way the crowd responded, singing so many of the words back to them.
Whether it was going to be a night full of back catalogue classics or more of the new songs making the cut it was an encouraging start for the Sheffield band which had a crowd filled with excitement on this Friday night. It was a set filled with both, as crowd pleasers such as Brianstorm and View From The Afternoon were met with roars from the 20,000 inside.
Evolving and transforming himself from laid-back teenage indie sensation into a melodramatic, hand on hips almost Elvis like performer, Alex Turner shows how far they have grown in character as he swaggers around the stage oozing with confidence, whilst the rest of the band strut their stuff with their elected instruments.
Anthems from AM such as Snap Out Of It and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High definitely prompted the biggest sing-alongs alongside with cult classics; From The Ritz To The Rubble and Do Me A Favour.
A dreamlike rendition of Cornerstone gave chance for breathing space as phone lights were glittering across the arena, ‘I’ve played to quite rooms like this before’ Turner says as he serenades the crowd with One Point Perspective from their latest album as the set nears towards the end.
The predictably exciting set closer I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor was encountered with huge noise and energy as guitarist Jamie Cook and drummer Matthew Helders were explosive. They leisurely walked off stage to a crowd wanting more and more as the lights dimmed.
It was a set heavily filled with new material and songs from 2013’s AM with lesser tracks from the previous four albums. As they rounded off the night with room shaking songs Arabella and R U Mine for their encore its safe to say that Arctic Monkeys are up there with the truly great British bands, from their discography to their live performances this night confirms they are just that and that they will continue to be up there for years to come.
Reviewed by Isaac Blackmore