Posted by: martinworster | April 12, 2007


Arctic Monkeys in LA

Click to enlarge!On March 15th I was lucky enough to see the Arctic Monkeys with my sister. The tides of hype had been lapping at these shores so I thought I’d check out what it’s all about. Fastest debut album since the Beatles and all that. I found the album good but nothing revolutionary, but with the amount of column inches praising the Monkeys as saviours of British Pop, they had too much to live up to. It was an exciting, original, lyrically inventive and varied debut album from a incredibly young band.

All that changed after seeing them at the Henry Fonda Theatre (very small prob 600 capacity). At first glance they look like local youths from the shopping centre had invaded the stage. Barely out of teens, acne shadowed and very slight. The lead singer wore a white hooded tracky top and I thought it was invasion of the Chavs. All this was dispelled with the music. I was pretty blown away. Live, they made sense. I kept forgetting they had an average age of nineteen. Seeing a band at the height of their career giving this sort of musical performance would have been impressive, but for a rag bag of spotty teenagers from Sheffield it was mind boggling.

They were cool. Musically tight. They have their own voice and sound. A good mixture of raw energy punky numbers offset with some more ballady tracks, ska tinges and an overall shimmering pop sensibility. They rocked. The place was a sell out as their hype had preceded them. You could tell the audience was impressed, which is surprising judging from the UK parochial (in a good way) references and content of their lyrics. Did Americans know what a Scummy man, Reebok classics, tracky bottoms and Reef look or taste like? They are to indie what The Streets is to dance in that sense.

I even saw Meg White drummer from the White Stripes smoking at the bar and had to resist myself from becoming creepy fan number one. So for me they lived up to their hype, they were incredibly well received here and I hope they haven’t peaked at such a ridiculously early stage in their careers. It’s amazing how fast all this happens now, under two years ago they are playing pub gigs, and, mainly via the Internet and NME fanfares, they are the next Great Brit big pop contenders.

I was also at the bar and saw someone who I thought might have been Billy Idol. I know he lives in LA and had a bit of a drugs issue in the late 80s and 90s. This dude definitely had a lived in face, complemented by bleached white hair. I could have been wrong, the last time I saw Mr Idol was circa mid 80s and the Hot In The City video.

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