Thursday, June 8, 2006
More Fun than a Barrel of Arctic Monkeys
They came all the way from the UK to rock The Granada.
The buzz that filled the air Tuesday night at the Granada had nothing to with the date nearly making the sign of the Devil, as certain zealots may have reminded us. Rather, the excitement came from the fans waiting with an almost religious intensity for one of the hottest bands out of the UK in recent memory.
Such was the environment that opener We Are Scientists encountered upon stepping on stage. Despite some shaky numbers, the band managed to keep the energy level up with the help of a fairly constant stream of crowd interaction. Though the indie-rock trio is based out of Brooklyn, drummer Michael Tapper is actually a native of Dallas and wore a t-shirt with the handwritten proclamation: "TEXAN". The highly watchable Keith Murray (lead vocals and guitar) even took time to lament that whenever the group comes to Dallas, Tapper deserts him and bassist Chris Cain to revisit his old stomping grounds. The high point of the set corresponded to the lyrics with the lowest morals ("If you want to use my body, go for it"), but the song "Nobody Movie, Nobody Get Hurt" is terribly catchy, in a nonabrasive way, and was performed with high-energy elegance. The closing rendition of "The Great Escape," was too arduous, but one should certainly expect to be hearing more quality, danceable tunes from these guys in the future.
Setting the record for sales of a debut album in the UK before any of their 21st birthdays, the Arctic Monkeys had some serious hype to battle--hype that after last night the Sheffield foursome proved exists for good reason. Most of their tunes are up-tempo and guaranteed to get a room moving. Yet the slower paced "Riot Van," which lamented good times ended by unscrupulous cops, was a surprising opening number and a nearly hypnotizing one for the fans. The crowd was suddenly wide eyed and hushed before they suddenly snapped out of it just in time to croon along with Alex Turner (vocals/guitar) singing "I’m sorry officer is there a certain age you’re supposed to be?...nobody told me." The dynamic lighting and undeniable dance songs that ensued contrasted the momentary lull. Following with crowd pleasers from their album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not it was amusing to watch more than a handful of people pop their collars and turn to their neighbor, bearing their teeth during the opening chords of "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But..."
Turner was splendidly engaging, showing off fancy footwork and occasionally having fun with a tambourine while visiting his friend Matt Helders at the drums. Guitarist Jamie Cook had a focused yet unflappable smile throughout the roller coaster of the show. Bassist Nick O’Malley, filled in for Andy Nicholson on tour. While Nick was musically up to par, he looked slightly out of place for the duration of the performance.
There was no doubt that Turner was the one in charge though, pointing out individual audience members and complimenting their dancing. The clarity of their sound sometimes faltered, obscuring certain lyrics (which is a pity because many of them are funny, biting, and biographical), but it is doubtful the crowd even noticed since they were singing so loud themselves. Hit single "I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor" was played at exactly the right moment - after a carefully timed pause and then a gasp from the crowd, it was clear that they knew what was coming. And judging by the ecstatic faces and excited thrashing of the crowd, they were not disappointed. With the kind of positive talk this group is generating from their tour, the Arctic Monkey’s next album will perhaps be appropriately named, Whatever People Say I.