Like many people who weren’t at Glastonbury I sat down and watched many of the performances on my TV, wishing I was there but being grateful I could still see the acts without having to deal with the camping involved. Through the many amazing sets I watched (Jake Bugg, The xx and The Rolling Stones to name just a few) Arctic Monkeys were the stand out act of the weekend for me, Alex’s command over the audience was mind-bogglingly fabulous (even getting the crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to his mum.) He clearly had the audience in the palm of his hand and he loved it as much as they did, with the whole band feeding off the buzz of excitement from the audience they did one of their best performances to date, mixing old tracks with new they showed why the band isn’t to be ignored.
To say I was a massive fan in their beginning days would be a lie, I’d heard ‘Florescent Adolescent’ and their more popular songs along with the majority of top 40 followers but it wasn’t until the last couple of years I discovered their pure brilliance. I downloaded all their albums and looking back now you can see their development as a band to the darker sound they are producing today.
‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ from back in 2006 is AM saying ‘we have arrived and are here to stay’ with punchy guitar and catchy lyrics (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know the words to ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’) firmly established the band. This sound was carried on in ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ but the slower edge started to creep in with songs such as ‘505’ and ‘Only One Who Knows’ and to date this is my favourite Arctic Monkeys album, Alex’s creative mastery over the lyrics is fabulous and separates them from the rest of the pack.
If their first two albums were ‘the young years’, ‘Humbug’ and ‘Suck it and See’ are the band coming into their prime. Gone are the fast paced anthems and in come the powerful ‘Crying Lightning’ , ‘Pretty Visitors’ and ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’, although they’ve slowed it down, the creative lyrics are still paramount and as good as ever.
‘R U Mine?’ was released in early 2012, back with a new song Arctic Monkeys hit their peak, the brooding guitar and stylish video (full of quiffs, Danny Zuko-esque clothes and shot in black and white of course) cemented the band’s image as the epitome of cool. Then after the success of the Glastonbury set last month, the announcement of an 8 date UK tour to support their new album ‘AM’ and the new single ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ (with its weirdly hypnotic video) it seems like the band have grown up from their early ‘Florescent Adolescent’ days and found their real sound, it maybe slower, darker and louder than the beginning but it still sounds as good as ever and shows Arctic Monkeys as one of the best British guitar bands around.