Perhaps in celebration of the monumental success of their most recent album, AM, Arctic Monkeys has finally gone beyond the UK and the US’s most famous cities and have paid a visit to St. Pete’s Jannus Live for a late-night show that most fans–myself included–will remember for the rest of their lives.
Though still somewhat undiscovered, this British indie band have made quite the statement with AM–the album is a sultry, sensual exploration of love, lust, and midnight messes–and have proved just how much they’ve changed over the years. Lead singer Alex Turner, 29, and the band are well beyond their days of teenage-angst-centered songs; they’ve taken the chance to change up and mature their sound. Evidently, it’s worked in their favor.
Feb. 1, 2014, fans waited patiently until 8 p.m. for the doors to this outdoor venue to open, though they still had a lot of waiting to do after that. The venue was relatively small; and tickets sold out fairly quickly. Yet, still this made for little wiggle room; on the floor, most had to fight for a good view of the performances.
Not exactly at nine, the opening act came on: The Orwells, making this show memorable for an entirely different reason. The band was bearable at first, but there’s only so much head-banging, lyric-screeching, hair-whipping one can take before counting down the songs until the end of their set. Lead singer Mario Cuomo can only be described as some sort of cross between a really passionate hard rock singer and a priest exercising a demon. The band performed tracks off past albums such as their 2012 LP Remember When (We heard “Mallrats (La La La)”, and “In My Bed”, to name a couple). But for the most part, the crowd was waiting for something bigger and much, much better.
A quarter after ten, the real show began. Alex Turner sauntered onstage in his crisp suit and Elvis-hair getup, and the crowd went wild. The familiar pulse of “Do I Wanna Know?”, AM‘s most notorious track, pumped up the crowd and got things going. They played a handful of tracks off this album, but also made sure to appeal to long-time Monkeys fans by branching off with “Fluorescent Adolescents”, “505”, “Crying Lightning”, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” and other popular favorites from Favourite Worst Nightmare and Humbug.
They chose primarily AM favorites to perform; “Arabella”, “Why’d You Only Call Me You’re High?”, “Knee Socks”, and “Snap Out of It” were among them. “I Wanna Be Yours” made for one of the night’s best; the slow-moving, cool-as-ice ballad made for a great transition from a more energetic track.
What was most remarkable about Arctic Monkeys was their assertive stage presence; Turner and the band dominated the crowd and sounded identical to the studio version of any track off their album. Fans couldn’t bear to see them leave; for their encore, they played a couple more tracks to please fans, including “R U Mine?”, their 2012 hit single preceding the release of AM.
For the most part, this was a concert for fans who just want to enjoy a night of bluesy rock music and are content with swaying to Alex Turner’s soulful, crooning lyrics and beautiful accompanying instrumentals. Each song hits a different nerve, brings up a foggy memory of a late night out, and makes listeners feel each throb creep into their heart. My only complaint is The Orwells, who paled in comparison to the rest of the concert’s performances.
I can go on and on about how awesome and clever Arctic Monkeys is, but it comes down to this: if you’re looking for a cheap ticket, great music and a good time, look into the next time the they’ll be in Florida. You won’t regret a thing. Score: 10/10.
Songs of the night: “R U Mine?”, “Do I Wanna Know?”, “Fluorescent Adolescents”, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, “I Wanna Be Yours”, “Dancing Shoes”
Nataly Capote/A&E Editor