Arctic Monkeys, O2 Arena, London
Friday 04 November 2011
Living in New York and having to wait so long to tour the UK with an album that was released in June has not dented Alex Turner's dry South Yorkshire wit, nor his attention to vocabulary. "Hello, Millennium Dome," says the Arctic Monkeys' frontman on the first of two nights, ignoring the venue's corporate rebranding.
Despite the hormonal fizz of their early hits, the Monkeys always spanned generations, with beery blokes among their fevered younger fans, picking fights with bouncers as if to remind Turner of what he has since dismissed as "chip shop rock and roll".
Leaving that behind has proved an awkward business for a group who found fame young. They lost focus on 2009's rock-influenced Humbug, but they are back on a relative high with the confident hooks and playful wordplay of Suck It And See.
Privately, all is not great for Turner, who has split from the TV presenter Alexa Chung, and he now finds himself sporting an outlandish quiff, as if auditioning for the Beatles play Backbeat. Otherwise, it is business as usual.
The group look small on stage but they make a huge sound. Led by Matt Helders' authoritative drumming, the four-piece click into a groove so tight that any joins are invisible. Some of the more recent songs may be nonsense rhymes but the tunes jump out, in enough eccentric shapes to prove the band are still pushing themselves. As ever, plenty of false endings and mid-song pauses keep the audience on their toes. Most successful of the current material, intriguingly, are the romantic numbers, with just a hint of plaintiveness from Turner on "She's Thunderstorms", from which his occasional Elvis pose fails to detract.
Humbug is mainly ignored, apart from the occasional gem such as the sinister "Pretty Visitors". The first two albums are better represented, Favourite Worst Nightmare brings forth a jaunty "Fluorescent Adolescent", though the most ecstatic reception is left for songs from the debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, including a stripped back "Mardy Bum" and "When the Sun Goes Down", much of which a bashful Turner leaves to the fans to sing.
Touring to 9 November (arcticmonkeys.com)
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Batman v Superman: Side-kick Robin to be 'woman played by Jena Malone'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world