WEEKLY UPDATES (with some special editions in between)



May 24, 2011


From the moment that 'Arctic Monkeys' slammed on to the UK music scene back in late 2005 with debut single, 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' and subsequently, my first experience of their live credentials just a few months later, I was gripped. Since then I have had the pleasure of seeing the 'Arctic Monkeys' live at various venues and I certainly wasn't planning on missing this opportunity in New York's, Central Park (despite the grim weather forecast which thankfully never came to fruition at the outdoor event at Rumsey Playfield).

The 'Arctic Monkeys' have evolved little by little on each album release from 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' through 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' and 'Humbug'. Their latest effort 'Suck It and See' is slated for release on June 6th and seems to comprise the, Josh Homme inspired sounds of, 'Humbug' alongside the cheekiness and colloquial lyrical references of 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' and 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'. Where 'Humbug' was heavily produced, their forthcoming release 'Suck it And See' was recorded in live takes with producer James Ford in LA.

From what I heard a little earlier this evening, this album certainly has the potential to be up their with the best of them (and that is pretty exciting). They are very much senior citizens in the game now with four albums behind them and each band member tipping 25/26 years young. Expectations, like the fervour at Central Park this evening, are high.

On a muggy night in Manhattan's Central Park, normally an oasis for the cities inhabitants, this was not the evening for some piece and quiet or a tranquil stroll in the park. Following the hotly tipped support, 'The Vaccines', The 'Arctic Monkeys' took the stage to Canadian rock band, 'The Guess Who's', 'American Woman'. They didn't hang around before kicking off with new track, 'Library Pictures' which has some of the darker sounds of 'Humbug' as well as the clever drumbeats and softer tones of their first two albums. The Monkey's seem to love building songs with melodic little pieces before the songs emanate in to a rocking tune on the chorus. It's a formula that works on this track as it does on others.

Liking what I'd heard of the new, we soon flitted back to the old which is perfectly fine by me. In 'A View From The Afternoon' and 'Brainstorm' from 1st and 2nd albums respectively, we are not only treated to some fine lyrics and the Monkeys adorable sound, but most of all, Matt Helders leading the way on drums. Drummers are any bands lead, but in the case of, Helders, he is absolutely fundamental to the success of Arctic Monkeys. The speed and assurance of his hands on 'Brainstorm' in particular is out of this world.  

Next up of the new tracks was 'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair'. This is going to be a massive hit from the new becoming my favourite from the four or five songs that I have heard to date. It sounds fantastic. Almost certainly an extension of some of the moody, dark sounds of, 'Humbug' with a grinding and hypnotising bass line. This track is in the 'My Propeller' and 'Crying Lightening' mold. Indeed the rhythms and reverberations can almost be mistaken for my current playlist toppers, 'The Black Angels'. They continued in this dark sound with another favourite of mine from 'Humbug', 'Pretty Visitors'.

The hits kept coming, but in the form of a much needed period of chill out tunes with the likes of 'Cornerstone', 'Crying Lightning' and 'Teddy Picker'. The latter of which has a great guitar riff throughout accompanied by some well selected lyrics by lead, Alex Turner. I have long wondered whether the "save it 'til the morning after" line is an ode to Duran Duran (from their 'Save a Prayer' on their 'Rio' album). It has to be.

Continuing to mix in the new with the old, 'She's Thunderstorms' was next up. A mellow song for the majority, the Monkeys again revert back to the calm melodic sound before the eruption of fine channeled noise in the chorus. Despite not being blown away after first listen, it could certainly be a grower. Firm favourite with the crowd and the bands first release, ' I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' followed to great acclaim before 'Potion Approaching' and next new offering, 'Brick by Brick'. This is a pretty simplistic little tune that succeeds in reacquainting us with the Monkeys sound and Alex Turner's sultry and effective vocals. It's one of those songs that really gets stuck in your head...on our walk home, the chap behind us certainly had it ingrained in his brain and was singing/humming along in his drunken stooper.  

A couple more older ones in 'Do Me a Favour' and 'If You Were There, Beware' before the "shalalala" tune, ' The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala'. Another fun little track with finely constructed and well delivered lyrics from Turner (backed by, Helders). They left the stage briefly before being persuaded back to stage by a fervent New York crowd and Encore'd with 'When The Sun Goes Down' and 'Fluorescent Adolescent'.

Six years and four albums in to their musical career, the Arctic Monkeys again failed to disappoint at this live performance. I have enjoyed each of their albums and think 'Suck It And See' (out on June 6th) will build upon the successes they have had to date. Without moving too far away from their traditional sounds, the Arctic Monkeys experiment enough on each release to keep us interested. On stage, they are talented, laid back and oftentimes witty. I like their demeanour and love their music. Rumsey Playfield is not an easy venue in which to rouse the crowd, I think the Monkey men succeeded. Rating 8/10

Arctic Monkeys Set List

Library Pictures
The View From the Afternoon
This House Is A Circus

Still Take You Home
Don't Sit Down 'Cause I Moved Your Chair
Pretty Visitors
Teddy Picker
Crying Lightning
She's Thunderstorms
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
Potion Approaching
Brick By Brick
If You Were There, Beware
Do Me A Favour
The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
When The Sun Goes Down
Fluorescent Adolescent

A quick note on the widely touted and red hot in the UK right now support, 'The Vaccines'. This band's debut album 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?' was released in the UK in March of this year and has been received with wide praise. Owning the album myself which is released in the US next week (May 31st), it's an energetic and likeable album with a variety of familiar sounds throughout...from 'Coldplay's', Chris Martin to 'The Strokes' and even more punk sounds of 'The Ramones', 'Sex Pistols' and 'The Clash'.  

The accolades have been flooding in for this band of only a year or so old with 'Rolling Stone' placing them on their 'Band to Watch' list. I think they will certainly have a couple of hits on both sides of the pond and was keen to see a bit of them live.

They had a couple of sound problems initially, but the lead, Justin Young adapted well and finished off the first song, 'Under Your Thumb' on bass player, Árni Hjörvar's mic. Rumsey Playfield is not an ideal setting for a support band with the crowd sauntering in and for many, not really paying attention (not to mention they are opening for 'Arctic Monkeys'), but 'The Vaccines' done a solid job of it. Songs like 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' and 'If You Wanna' are quickfire tunes that are very much in 'The Ramones' style. 

'A Lack of Understanding' was delivered in a very 'Strokes' manner, and the clever 'Post Break-Up Sex' is along similar lines. The band also covered, 'Standells' song, 'Good Guys Don't Wear White' where they were joined by 'Minor Threat' guitarist, Lyle Preslar as something of a thank you to him for putting them in touch with this particular song. Preslar was then spotted next to us in the crowd bopping away to the Arctic Monkeys.

I like their debut album and plan to review that in full in the coming weeks. I would certainly like to see them next time they play live in the city at a venue that may better suit them i.e. Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Terminal 5. One thing is for sure, you will hear a lot more of 'The Vaccines' this year. Rating 7/10
The Vaccines Set List

Under Your Thumb
Blow It Up
Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
All In White
A Lack Of Understanding
If You Wanna
Post Break-Up SexGood Guys Don't Wear White (Standells cover)


  1. Got to agree, Rumsey Playfield is really hard venue to get a crowd going but the Monkey's managed just fine. Great show.

  2. Sure was Jerry. Lovin' the new tunes more after each listen...particularly, Library Pictures.