Arctic Monkeys + The Strypes LIVE @ LG Arena, Birmingham 20.11.13

An Arctic Monkeys fan’s favourite worst nightmare (song puns are so cringey, sorry for that) is the cancellation of a gig which is what everyone at the sold-out gig had to experience 3 weeks ago but the new date had arrived and everyone was ready to see if the Sheffield rockers were able to make up for the disaster. Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Nick O’Malley and Jamie Cook – good luck.

Starting it all off were The Strypes. With a little crowd participation (the rest just ignored and complained), they did well to keep it all together in such a large venue. It’d be hard for a more experienced band to open for Arctic Monkeys never mind a young new band like the Irish 4-piece. The majority of their set sounded similar; to their own other songs and then from other bands. Their live set just proved how taking inspiration from a band shouldn’t mean copying. It’s easy to see why they were picked as support as they already have made a big name for themselves and even have people like Miles Kane and Dave Grohl as fans but with most having never seemed to have listened to them, the reaction was that they played a set full of similar songs played as fast as they could.

The lights dimmed and the crowd soon perked up. It was time for Arctic Monkeys. The opening riff of ‘Do I Wanna Know’ sounded out causing the mood of the room to quickly change into one of excitement as the whole crowd surged forward. Sitting at this point must have been bad; you guys missed out. It was something special. Leading on into Brianstorm, the 15,000 strong audience (even seated) were there shouting along with “Brian, top marks for not trying” showing that no-one needs ask “who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys” any more.

The set continued with hits from each of their 5 no.1 albums including ‘Crying Lightning’, ‘Reckless Serenade’ and ‘Old Yellow Bricks’. Constantly speeding things up then slowing things down, the setlist which at first seemed not the best was becoming one of the best things the crowd had heard. ‘Arabella’ included an extract from Brum’s own Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ the crowd soon got messy again. When was it ever not messy? After this the awestruck crowd were all ready for what was coming next. It soon hit home when ‘LADIEEESSS’ came from Turner that what made these guys get big was about to happen. Dedicating it to the Midlands ladies, Alex certainly knows how to make a girl fall in love with him.

The now hot and sweaty crowd had a quick break as the pace was slowed down with ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘No.1 Party Anthem’. If you’ve never got on someone’s shoulders at a gig, do it for ‘Cornerstone’ because it’ll be the best thing you ever do. Also the dancing coming from the stage was something to laugh at – sorry. The strong set continued and then the lyrics ‘I wanna be your vacuum cleaner’ began. It was about to get emotional.  The previously loud and raucous band had gone and been replaced with this calm and delicate band. ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ changes people. The addition of a glitter cannon made the atmosphere at the LG Arena get pretty amazing.

An encore consisting of ‘Snap Out of It’, an acoustic ‘Mardy Bum’ and then ‘R U Mine’ is a pretty strong encore. Even for Arctic Monkeys. The cancellation of the Halloween date was still a sore point for most as after ‘Mardy Bum’, Turner commented “if we’d have known you could sing that well we wouldn’t have cancelled in the first place.” Don’t joke Alex. Don’t leave it until the encore to joke about it. Clearly not making a good impression with a quick reaction of boos from the crowd, he shyly apologised and pushed on into ‘R U Mine’ – the closer. With pits emerging everywhere, it was clear no-one wanted it to end.

No-one gives a shit about the postponement any more.

(I managed to lose the disposables with the photos on oops, will find it soon)


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