Concert Review: Arctic Monkeys @ The Anthem (7/29/18)

Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys (Photo Credit: Zackery Michael)

Sunday with the Arctic Monkeys! What a wild way to end the weekend.

Alex Turner stepped on stage in a white suit, ringed by the other members of the Arctic Monkeys, and proceeded to give the second night at The Anthem crowd a tour de force concert of British indie rock and raucous post punk. A worthy entry to the growing list of great concerts at The Anthem.

The Arctic Monkeys lads are from Sheffield, England, and formed in 2002. The band boasts Alex (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Helders (drums), Jamie Cook (guitar) and Nick O’Malley (bass). For this show, apparently they needed to blaze new musical frontiers as four additional musicians joined them, making for a potent total of eight rockers.

They are touring (two nights at The Anthem is not too shabby) for their sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino.

They kicked off the night with “Four Out of Five” from that album, before getting huge cheers for the next song “Arabella”.

The Arctic Monkeys like to pepper in interesting song titles and lyrics, with Alex as the primary songwriter. Case in point, next came “Don’t Sit down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” where the cheekiness of their style and approach comes out. The absurd nature of the lyrics here, “Go into business with a grizzly bear”, along with other songs is part of the charm of the band overall.

Later they laid down the funky smooth “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, from their previous album AM, where they tend to ask a lot of questions in the song titles. I hope they got some answers in time for the material in Tranquility. At least the songs seem a bit more mellow.

We had questions as well. How many songs did they perform? 20. Did they include songs from all six of their albums, spreading the love over the full range of their career? Yes. Where was their biggest focus? Five songs each from both Tranquility and AM. Did I wanna know? Of course. Besides in their amazing rendition of “Do I Wanna Know?”, we were in too deep, the feeling flowed both ways, and we were sorta hoping they would stay.

How crazy is it that it’s been five years since their last album? Where did the time go? They went on hiatus for a bit, and some members worked on other projects, including Alex who released a couple of solo albums. He also must have perfected his Elvis impersonation, because during another Tranquility song, “One Point Perspective”, with his white suit and his gyrations, he embodied a hint of The King.

They ended the main set with the first song I remember when I think of the Arctic Monkeys, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”. I bet you do, but they did and that’s what’s important.

The last of three encore songs was “R U Mine?”, which thundered out through the cavernous Anthem, giving all in its path at least a contact high. We were theirs, if only for an all too brief evening.

I haven’t listened to Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino all that much, so I have now added it in my proper music queue. I’m afraid they’ll move my chair when they find out.

They also recently played at Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, so you’ve had many chances to catch them live this year. If you missed them this time, just hope they don’t go on another hiatus.

Four Out of Five
Don’t Sit down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
The View from the Afternoon
Teddy Picker
Knee Socks
Do Me a Favour
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
One Point Perspective
American Sports
Do I Wanna Know?
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino
Pretty Visitors
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor

Star Treatment
Crying Lightning
R U Mine?

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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