Arctic Monkeys, Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Monkeys up for it Down Under
Monday 26 January 2009
No one would have blamed the Arctic Monkeys for being a little rusty. After all, they are playing their first gigs together in more than a year, touring Australia and New Zealand.
Tickets for the Monkeys' Sydney show sold out so fast that promoters switched it to a larger venue. And the 5,500 fans who descended on the Hordern Pavilion, near the Sydney Cricket Ground, were not disappointed, with the Sheffield lads demonstrating that they have lost none of their manic exuberance, nor their ability to energise and delight a capacity crowd.
During 2008, lead singer and lyricist Alex Turner took time out to make an album and tour with Miles Kane, the Rascals frontman, as The Last Shadow Puppets. The Monkeys also began recording their long-awaited third album – and in Sydney they gave their adoring audience a preview, incorporating four new songs into the 75-minute set. The band is Down Under for the touring Big Day Out festival, which kicked off in New Zealand last week, then moved to Queensland's Gold Coast, with dates in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth over the coming week. In between festival appearances, the Monkeys, who are headlining with Neil Young, are playing a series of sideshows, all of them sell-outs.
At the Sydney gig, the new material met with a somewhat muted response, with the exception, perhaps, of "Crying Lighting", which features some frenetic drumming by Matt Helders. All four numbers – the other ones were "Pretty Visitors", "Dangerous Animals" and "Go-Kart" – would benefit from a second listen. The band's second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, released in 2007, was not as immediately accessible as the first, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, and the third looks set to continue that trend.
This week's glimpse suggests that the third album will be heavier and louder than the previous two. "It's not like a massive change. You can obviously tell it's us," Helders told the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend.
Turner complained recently that the band, which shot to stratospheric fame three years ago, mostly tours in winter. He wouldn't have had anything to carp about in Sydney, where the Monkeys played the Big Day Out yesterday. The city is currently wilting in a 38C heatwave. The crowd, while it listened with respectful interest to the new songs, only really warmed up when the band belted out old hits, including the breakthrough single, "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor". "Still Take You Home", "Brianstorm" and "Fluorescent Adolescent" were among others that met a rapturous reception.
Australians embraced the British wunderkinds from the start; their first album topped the charts and the second reached number two. No date has been set for the release of the as yet unnamed third album, which the Monkeys have been recording with Josh Homme, the American record producer and Queens of the Stone Age frontman, at Homme's studio in California's Mojave desert. That's a long way from Sheffield, but Helders told the Herald that the regional influence had not been lost. "It's just another place to use that creativity," he said. The album is reportedly two-thirds complete.
Review: Of Mice and Men
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Arts & Ents blogs
The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 3 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark