Marlay Park, Dublin
Arctic Monkeys are big news these days. From selling out about 40,000 tickets for their Marlay Park show weeks in advance, to headlining practically every other European festival this summer, to being outed by the London Times as investors in a tax avoidance scheme, everybody wants a slice of the four-piece. And over the course of 90 minutes, they give the people exactly what they want: Nearly all of AM, their fifth album (10 of its 12 tracks), numerous shakes of Alex Turner’s hips, and the best of the early stuff.
They start with the opening track off AM, ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ and end with the album’s second song, the immense ‘R U Mine?’. “We’re the Arctic Monkeys from High Green, Sheffield,” Turner announces. Another nod to their locale is Matt Helders’ drum skin, bearing their hometown’s phone area code, 0114. It’s a place which inspired their first album, represented in Dublin by ‘Dancing Shoes’, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, and a forced acoustic rendition of ‘A Certain Romance’, featuring numerous anecdotes from the bequiffed Turner.
The swaggering ‘Arabella’ is the standout of the night, coming early on and towering over the likes of ‘Don’t Sit Down...’ and ‘Crying Lightning’. It doesn’t even matter that its backing vocals get lost in the wind. The pulsating ‘Knee Socks’ is responsible for one of the best singalongs of the night — “Like the beginning of Mean Streets you could be my baby” — while ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘505’ remind how consistent Arctic Monkeys have been over the years.
Supported by the pointless Miles Kane and insipid Jake Bugg, Arctic Monkeys don’t have to work hard for the crowd’s affection, proving with business-like efficiency just why they’re big news.
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