Saturday, 23 November 2013

'I Just Wanna Be Yours', Arctic Monkeys, Sheffield Arena, 18/11/2013



It may have been a few years (and two extra weeks due to Laryngitis) overdue, but Arctic Monkeys' return to Sheffield is a triumphant one. It was just a shame that the majority of the crowd are too pissed to realise it. With a Justin Bieber lookalike visibly nodding off next to me with dubious smoke related lethargy (yes we are in an inside venue), another telling his mates how sick he feels after knocking back 'a full six pack of vk's' before promptly urinating on the arena floor and a third arguing with his mates about how much money he owed him for the ticket, it appears that not a lot in Sheffield has changed from the beer swilling, riot van chasing, youthful nights out so classically depicted on the bands seminal debut.

What has changed is the band themselves. Having grown out of three-chord indie into darker, more sophisticated territory, they arrive tonight to show off the wares of AM, their most musically accomplished record to date. There is more than a touch of R'n'B royalty about their set, from the hip-hop intro music to Alex Turner's flamboyant delivery. When he joked in interviews a while back that he would happily give up guitar just to sing nobody took him seriously, but it is obvious that he has grown into a frontman in the truest sense, inventing small dance routines for each song that would end up a looking a little on the wrong side of 18-30's entertainer if it wasn't for the fact that he delivers it all with a pokerface of super-cool nonchalance.

From the glam-rock stomp of Snap Out Of It and Arabella to a lamenting acoustic rendition of Mardy Bum, his voice fills the arena with more confidence than on previous tours, bolstered by the well-timed falsettos of Nick O'Malley and Matt Helders. The setlist reflects this new found maturity - gone is cheap singalong of Brick By Brick and the normally ever-present finale of 505, choosing to replace it with R U Mine? and glorious I Wanna Be Yours that streams ticker tape to the back of the room. Little stage banter is indulged, aside from a gentle lilt of the Sheffield Wednesday theme that grows into an enormous Football chant. It's a clever and effortless move that gets the crowd involved, making them look like the rowdy scallies whilst you escape unscathed, just a few tendrils of quiff out of place. Even if the audience haven't grown up, Sheffield's heroes certainly have.







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