Arctic Monkeys at Marlay Park, Dublin – Review & Photos
Can you believe they’ve been with us for five albums? These Sheffield shapers with their working class attitudes, sarcasm laced lyrics and huggable harmonies. It only seems like yesterday they appeared with their skinny Northern necks soaring over the rock and roll parapet belting out “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor”. Here we are now, eight years later with an Arctic Monkeys menu of magnificent flavours ranging from very fast, very loud punk edged pop to indie riddled, insecure melodic microcosms.
Marlay Park hosted this sold out gig where Arctic Monkeys gave their thirty seven thousand fans something to write home about – a solid set list, clearly thought out, dispensed established “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” classics seamlessly into well received, recent “AM” material.
A few bars of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, a “Phoenix Nights” style parody on a Bontempi organ preceded the band. The bingo hall irony of it lost on most of the fans salivating upon the arrival of their idols.
The solid stomping beats of “Do I Wanna Know?” wake the waiting crowd into a chanting mass. Decked out in matching monochrome suits, shiny boots and gold chains, with their shirts open just one button too far, it’s clear the Arctics ain’t taking themselves too seriously. They could be Elvis, John Travolta or Del Boy.
“Snap Out Of It”, with it’s radio friendly opening notes (the first phrase similar to Diana Ross’s “Chain Reaction”), sees Turner conducting his audience into tune, shimmying across the stage encouraging shoulder shaking to those beguiling background harmonies. “Under a spell you’re hypnotised” he sings to thousands of kids, in exactly that state.
Upping the sultry tempo on “Arabella”, snake hips slinking between verses. Ever so temptingly Alex teases his adorers with drawn out, full fat riffs, lyrics soaked in unmitigated yet unfulfilled desire. “That’s magic in a cheetah print coat, Just a slip underneath it I hope, Asking if I can have one of those, Organic cigarettes that she smokes, Wraps her lips round the Mexican coke, Makes you wish that you were the bottle”.
Back to “Favourite Worst Nightmare” from 2007 as “Brianstorm” whips Marlay Park into considered punk edged chaos. Leaking straight into “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” from “Suck It And See”, these two tracks are well paired for the old wind the crowd up, then wind them down trick. Heavier guitar sections feeding the frenzy. The abrupt ending perfect for “Dancing Shoes” intro. “Crying Lightning” calms the madness slightly with its perfect melodrama. Alex delivers it with his accusatory camp tone, effected with lyrics of gob stoppers, strawberry laces and an aggravated ice-cream man. It’s all her fault by the way, practising her magic tricks, on the last of her pick and mix.
“Knee Socks” sways back towards “AM”. That familiar undertone, branded bass line and clever harmonies with dramatic pauses and lilting lyrics bring the calm before the storm that is “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”. It goes a bit metal or mania in true abrasive Arctic’s style. It’s been around since 2006, with considerable mileage it’s inexhaustible. “Library Pictures” maintains the manic pace until “Fireside” calms the maddening crowd. It’s rich and luscious, well placed for the introduction of the magnificent “No.1 Party Anthem.” Luxurious with Galaxy melt in the mouth melodies, lush arrangements and sultry, suggestive overtones it provides the perfect come down. Bad boy wishing words, packaged in silk. “Come on, come on, come on… Do me no good, And you look like you could.” The style and harmonies of this one remind me of the plushness of Richard Hawley, another Sheffield man.
Booty call ringtone for “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” “For all those who get the no reply message” announces Alex lashing into it. “The mirror’s image” feels like it’s been with us forever. “Fluorescent Adolescent” is seven years old now, with its fishnets and nightdress, hanging about down Last Laugh Lane. “505” brings the standard set to a close and the boys exit stage.
Predictable “Ole Ole Ole” chants greet them upon their return for the encore. An acoustic guitar takes over a rendition of “A Certain Romance”. All credit to the crowd who sing it back, unprompted to Turner. He appears impressed. “One For The Road” with disco ball lights and “I Wanna Be Yours” twin up to slow down the bus before the last stop. Suggestive, seductive and smooth. The gritty clever lyrics of vacuum cleaners and Ford Cortinas prove to intensify its class. “R U Mine?” closes the ceremony. Extended play enjoyed with at least thirty per cent extra free. Gracious and thankful, saluting their fans, the Arctic Monkeys disappear leaving thirty seven thousand satisfied customers. Not many can say that.