Arctic Monkeys are that rare rock beast – a band of a generation.
Hardly short on reputation as it was, the Sheffield-bred four-piece are riding higher than ever following the release of their acclaimed fifth album AM. This week’s announcement that they will headline next year’s T In The Park only ramped up the excitement levels at this rescheduled show, the last of their current tour.
They arrived packing a stellar new set-opener in Do I Wanna Know, its instant classic riff an augur of the swagger to come. The ferocious pace of the following Brianstorm made up for the muddy sound, while Pretty Visitors combined the unfettered energy of their early albums with the rock muscle they have acquired of late.
Frontman Alex Turner has always been a charismatic character but the diffident teen of old is now a practised performer, swivelling his hips, throwing shapes and working the floorspace with assured rock poise while flirting artfully with the audience. “I’ve missed you terrible – have you missed me?” he teased in an accent somewhere between Yorkshire and LA. The rest of the band could not hope to compete with such presence, though drummer Matt Helders and bassist Nick O’Malley flaunted their falsetto backing vocals on One For The Road and Snap Out Of It to rather sultry effect.
Turner impishly dedicated songs in the second half of the set to “the girls”, but this performance was a seductive overture to every warm body in the room, culminating with swooning charm offensive I Wanna Be Yours and the more aggressively persuasive R U Mine? If they could just bottle that loved-up spirit and pour it out over Balado next July, they will own T In The Park.