Right, let’s speak immediately about the elephant in the room here. New album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ has received both critical acclaim and derogatory comments from fans since its release on Friday 11th May.
The new record – filled with its Last Shadow Puppets-styling and Bowie-esque lyricism – in my opinion, shows maturity, shows that the band are not afraid to experiment, and is a step in the right direction for indie-pop music.
However, I wasn’t expecting the indie starlets from Sheffield to open with a track off the new album, as they boldly began by performing ‘4 Stars out of 5’ which was warmly received by the enthusiastic crowd, thankfully.
Followed by ‘Arabella’ from 2013 release ‘AM’, it wasn’t until third track ‘Brianstorm’ that the crowd really got the chance to let loose, with Turner’s new haircut (well, a shaven head) really standing out in the glow of the strobe lights.
“Aw, come here you” pronounced Turner to the crowd as the band ripped through hits including ‘Crying Lighting and ‘Teddy Picker’ before chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” reverberated around the arena walls.
Throughout the career-spanning show, Arctic Monkeys treated us to a collection of tracks from their back-catalogue, intentionally raising and dropping the tempo at will (following ‘One Point Perspective’ with ‘Get on Your Dancing Shoes’ allowed the crowd to garner enough energy for the big hits, while also allowing songs off new album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ to have the atmospheric airings they truly deserve).
Now, like many fans that have listened to the new album I was initially disappointed, sceptical even, but hearing the tracks in a live setting certainly gave me a new perspective, and I thoroughly believe that the new sound (more Last Shadow Puppets than Arctic Monkeys in my opinion, however) really does suit the new Arena-era Arctics – this isn’t teenagers in Yorkshire speaking about drunken nights out any more.
“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” announced Turner, before finishing on the iconic ‘R U Mine’. It was the perfect finish to a performance that showcased just how bold these teenagers from Sheffield have become.
In what was their second sold-out date in Newcastle, I must mention that there were notable omissions from first release, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I Am Not’ including ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ and ‘The View From The Afternoon’ – but when you have so many hits, and a new album to promote, I suppose you can’t fit every song into a 2-hour set.