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Arctic Monkeys - Leadmill, Sheffield, 22/4/2007

  by Denzil Watson

published: 15 / 4 / 2007

Arctic Monkeys - Leadmill, Sheffield, 22/4/2007


At a packed out, instantly sold out second date at the Sheffield Leadmill, Denzil Watson watches Britain's biggest indie band the Arctic Monkeys play an unforgettable set to their home crowd

There are two guys hanging around outside the Leadmill. They tell me they were here yesterday from five thirty trying to buy tickets off touts but never got in and listened to the show outside. They’re back again tonight and it’s not looking hopeful as, ironically, there’s plenty of touts but no tickets. I feel for these boys as they are hardcore fans who put in for the original ballot for tickets but didn’t get them. The current tour to promote 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' has taken in venues way to small to meet the spiraling ticket demand for the Sheffield four-piece. If truth be told the band could have sold out two nights at Sheffield Arena let along the Leadmill. But from day one the Arctic Monkeys have never played by the rules and, quite admirably, refused to be sucked into the machine. Sadly though, the downside is ticket-less fans like these two. Undeniably though seeing the band in such intimate surroundings makes tonight, for those that do get in, all the more special. Unfortunately I miss fellow Sheffielders Gas Club who take to the stage before the advertised door time and instead catch The Little Flames, the female fronted Liverpudlian five-piece and long time Monkeys' associates, in the final throes of a plucky set. Their 60's influenced Velvetsy indie rock goes down pretty well as the Leadmill fills up. The band saunter on spot on 9pm with little fuss and kick into current B-side 'If You Found This It's Probably Too Late' before cranking things up with a muscular and note perfect rendition of 'Brianstorm'. The kids are loving it and go even more ape-shit crazy as the band fire off 'Still Take You Home', 'Dancing Shoes' and 'From the Ritz to the Rubble' in quick succession. It’s a timely reminder of what a tight and tidy no-nonsense live band the Arctics are. It’s also refreshing to see a band that lets the music do the talking in this age of faux celebrity. Despite their monumental success, there’s a relaxed feel about the band. New bassist Nick O’Malley is all doe-eyed but clearly having the time of his life. Alex Turner, his usual relaxed self on stage, even apologises to last night's audience, via tonight's crowd, for yesterday’s lack of on-stage banter ("I was a little quiet"). We get our second shot of the new album via a rhythmic 'Balaclava' and then another bout of pogoing as “Fake Tales Of San Francisco”, one of the songs that started all this off, is lapped up by the adoring crowd. The new material is undoubtedly on the harder side of things but dovetails nicely with the old. 'Teddy Picker' sounds even better live than on record (which is saying something). Unfortunately the girl next to me knows all the words to 'Mardy Bum" and hollers them into my ear. It adds to the atmosphere but not the quality of the musical. Leave it out love, and let the professionals (i.e. Alex) sing it. Strangely there’s no sign of 'Florescent Adolescent', the album's poppiest tune but no one’s too bothered. As a traditional set-closer 'A Certain Romance' builds up to a crescendo I glance over to the sound desk and who should be standing there but former Monkey’s bassist Andy Nicholson. He surveys the scene of euphoria in front of him and for a moment his eyes glaze over, only for a wry smile to form across his lips as a sense of pride of his former involvement wells up. For me it’s the night’s most poignant moment. There’s even time for an encore as the band return to play album closer '505' with Alex sat astride an electric piano: the perfect way to finish a special night that few will forget in a hurry. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Kevin Wells and appeared on his website www.whoopers-website.com

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Arctic Monkeys - Leadmill, Sheffield, 22/4/2007

Arctic Monkeys - Leadmill, Sheffield, 22/4/2007

Arctic Monkeys - Leadmill, Sheffield, 22/4/2007

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Profile (2017)
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George Haigh reflects on the Arctic Monkeys' history and examines their second album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year


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