Monday, March 20, 2006

Live: Arctic Monkeys / Spinto Band

The Metro -- Chicago, IL
March 18, 2006

Saturday night with the Arctic Monkeys lived up to the best of expectations. The band was tight and the live setting gave their songs an added dimension. The venue was great; easy to get drinks and back to your friends without fighting through too much of hassle to get back to where you were (right of the soundboard, two/three feet in front of the balcony). The crowd was impressive, given I was fearing a worst-case scenario going into the evening; they were knowledgeable and, most importantly, excited about the show. There was an air of expectation, curiosity and excitement in the air and the Arctic Monkeys came out and lived up to it all.

Our initial question, how long the band would play (given their catalog is one record and 40 minutes long...), was answered walking through the front doors of the Metro, where the night's schedule was taped. Spinto Band, 7:15 - 7:45. Arctic Monkeys, 8:15 - 9:15.

Despite the early end time of the show, it was a solid hour of music. (Wasn't overly impressed with the Spintos. Had I heard them on a record before the show I might have been able to pick out some lyrics or grab onto a hook or two, but there wasn't much that stood out on first listen...). Arctic Monkeys took the stage on time with "View From the Afternoon."

The night before the show, my friends and I talked about how we felt a couple of songs would stand up really well live and they certainly did. Songs like "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong, But..." and "Mardy Bum" were show highlights, though they are likely my least favorite on the album. Those two songs, especially, sound like they were written in the live setting and exist there well.

"From the Ritz to the Rubble" was my personal highlight. Alex Turner extended his stage banter (rare, but not uncommon all night) to include the opening lines before launching into the song. I love this song on the record and its live presentation brought it up another level.

There are few criticisms I can make of the show. The band is still finding its legs playing shows to larger audiences, but there was nothing that told me it wasn't capable of pulling them off. Given their audience and the songs they write, I'm not sure the material will ring true in a venue much larger that a theater, but from a performance standpoint they could pull it off.

I'm writing from my home computer, so I don't have my music to post at the moment. I'll check in tomorrow with the rest of the Arctic Monkeys' KCRW set I posted with on Friday.

Also tomorrow, the Wilcos.

UPDATE (3/21): I had completely forgot to mention this in the proper review, but the Arctic Monkey's took the stage to Warren G's "Regulators" which was fucking sweet.

Here are the rest of the tracks from the Arctic Monkey's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" set from KCRW. I can't remember exactly, though I'm almost 100 percent sure I got these from So Much Silence at some point. Thanks!

1. View From the Afternoon
2. Dancing Shoes (see previous post)
3. You Probably Couldn't See For the Lights, But You Were Staring Straight At Me
4. Fake Tales of San Francisco
5. Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong, But...
6. From the Ritz to the Rubble
7. A Certain Romance (see previous post)

(Songs are hosted by and are live until they have not been downloaded for 30 days.)

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