Arctic Monkeys // Live Review

Finsbury Park – May 23rd


When Arctic Monkeys and Tame Impala share a stage, you know a dream’s come true for somebody out there. Playing two shows at Finsbury Park was an ambitious idea, but with such a solid line-up it was always going to be a sell-out and a great day’s music.

The chilled-out festival vibes of Tame Impala’s late afternoon set mixed with Alex Turner’s electric ability to connect with a huge audience meant the knock-down result was never in doubt. Impala’s colourful Aussie chic looked great in the golden light of dusk, before the black leather of AM grabbed our hand, and pulled us over the nocturnal threshold like an impatient lover.

Arctic Monkeys can fill 90 minutes of music in the same way other bands can play that one bit off their new single that really rocks. Whatever you think of Alex Turner in these post-‘R U Mine’ days, when he first donned sunglasses and made sure we all caught a glimpse of his new tattoo before driving a car into a pool, he is certain to make an impact even playing to 35,000 people at once. He mockingly straddles the paradox of the frontman, feeling intimate and removed yet at the same time tantalisingly inaccessible, leading the first half of 70,000 fans through pretty much the whole of latest album AM supplemented by that most enviable back catalogue.

What made the gig-ticket a real collectors’ item was his closing solo performance of ‘A Certain Romance’. The lyrics were especially appropriate to local Londoners, who could see the song as an apology for the thousands of northerners who made their way south for the show. “What can I say, I’ve known ‘em for a long long time”. Playing random shows like this makes a band exciting; we don’t know where they’ll pop up next, but it’ll definitely be a ticket to get your hands on.


BUY: Arctic Monkeys – AM