In the interest of full disclosure, the Arctic Monkeys are one of my all-time favourite bands. I’ve loved them from the very first song of theirs that I heard (‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor’), and I’ll continue loving them well into their fifth, sixth, seventh albums.
And that perpetual love for those British boys was solidified last night at the ACC in Toronto.
The quartet opened for blues-rock geniuses The Black Keys, but in some ways, they stole the show.
On stage, the Monkeys sound just a little grittier than their record – the way it should be live. They played a solid mix of tracks that wasn’t too old, or too new, and they kept the crowd upbeat and roaring.
Songs like ‘Brianstorm’ from 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare, and ‘Crying Lightning’, from 2009’s Humbug, really got the crowd going, while ‘Brick by Brick’, off their latest album, Suck It and See, moved the mood to an invigorating calm.
Alex Turner’s vocals are solid – they perfectly match those on the albums. But what really impressed me was his showmanship. You can tell by their demeanor that the band is super comfortable on stage, but Turner takes it to another level.
Dressed as a modern day greaser – white tee, leather jacket, slicked hair – he kept the crowd moving with just enough interaction. The small behaviours and movements he added – like actually doing the Macarena at that part in ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ – may have been intentional, but they seemed oddly natural, too.
Nick O’Malley on bass, had strong lines. He provided a solid backbone for each song, and kept the show moving smoothly throughout.
On guitar, Jamie Cook added the substance behind each track, filling it out and boosting the aura.
Drummer Matt Helders, meanwhile, could be described as nothing short of a maniac behind his kit. His drum solos, though far too infrequent, in my humble opinion, were beyond anything I ever expected from the group.
All in all, the Arctic Monkeys put on one hell of a show, and it’s safe to say that I’ll be taking it all in at their next concert, too.