“We are the Arctic Monkeys from High Green baby,” cries Alex Turner over the thumping drums and skittering guitars of ‘Brianstorm’ to over 5000 excited fans at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The live album is currently undergoing something of its own personal renaissance. In what has turned out to be somewhat of a dystopian year, the desire to feel the energy of a gig once more means fans are turning to previously recorded shows to feel the rush and excitement of a live performance. Step forward Arctic Monkeys as the latest band to provide a live release. Taken from their 2018 show, the album is not only a nostalgia trip for live music but a charitable adventure. Released in collaboration with War Child UK, with proceeds of the album will be going towards supporting the charities’ work helping children who have are victims of conflict across the world.
Packing 20 songs from across their six albums into the hour and a half set, the show feels more than your average live performance. Fan favourite songs such as ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, raucous closer ‘R U Mine?’ and, introduced with the same self-deprecating ‘don’t believe the hype’ from Turner as he first did back 2005, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ receives a thunderous response .
Few bands who found success during the indie explosion of the early to mid-noughties have managed to find the same longevity as Arctic Monkeys, who have managed to re-craft their sound from the hyper, rickety tracks from Whatever People Say I am to the slick, futuristic vibe of Tranquillity Base, Hotel and Casino while managing to keep their identity as a band. Often as musicians grow in style and stature, playing older material live can feel like a strange type of karaoke. Yet hearing Turner retell stories of nights out in Sheffield in his hybrid Sheffield/American twang alongside the suave, crooning tracks from Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino isn’t jarring. Slower, piano tinkling ‘One Point Perspective’ flows seamlessly into ‘Do Me A Favour.’ Similarly, ‘Knee Socks,’ ‘Cornerstone,’ The View From the Afternoon and ‘Star Treatment’ all sit comfortably alongside each other all accompanied by the excitable responses from the crowd.
After nine months since the last gigs were played, we’re talking the ones which involved being crushed up against varies other sweaty bodies and often doused with the content of flying pint cups – an idea which seems a million miles away from our current situation, there’s something cathartic about hearing the cheers and squeals of an excited live crowd once again. Love them or not, Arctic Monkeys know how to put on a terrific live show and it says something about the band’s ability as showman, being able to blend the smoother, slicker tracks from their most recent album in together with their earlier indie-disco output.
Not bad for a band who, when starting out, “just wanted to be one of The Strokes.”