Arctic Monkeys Concert Review

Arctic Monkeys at the Pageant.  (Nuri Yi)
Arctic Monkeys at the Pageant. (Nuri Yi)


On Saturday, Feb. 15, indie rock band Arctic Monkeys played a sold-out show at the Pageant with opening band Saint Motel.  Frequently named as one of the most important bands to come along in the twenty-first century, Arctic Monkeys tend to drown in a sea of hype, but in this case, the hype is well-deserved.

Despite the cold, a sizable crowd gathered in line hours before the doors opened, with some people ordering pizza and sitting on the ground with blankets.  Some fans were obviously not dressed for the weather, wearing leather jackets and miniskirts, but were undeterred, even when it started to snow.

Saint Motel, the opening band, did a great job of getting the crowd excited with their easy charm and summer-road-trip sound, which was reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, if Vampire Weekend went to college in California instead of New York City.  They finished with their hit song “Puzzle Pieces.”

When Arctic Monkeys finally came on stage, the mood changed completely.  While Saint Motel had created an atmosphere of joy, Arctic Monkeys ratcheted the emotional spectrum up to one of almost hysteria.  My feet, still frozen from hours of waiting in the cold, melted immediately in Alex Turner’s presence, along with my heart and all of my common sense.

Turner played the part of the rock star for all it was worth, sashaying his hips and flirting with the crowd, a distinct change from the awkward-looking teenager at the beginning of his career.  At one point, in between songs, when he took out a comb to fix his quiff, the Pageant erupted in a collective shriek of adoration.

Live, Arctic Monkeys were rougher and more visceral, and far larger than life.  Everything was so much more — Matt Helder’s drumming was sharper, the audience shouted every single lyrical line in time, I could feel the bass pumping through my heart — and yet, Arctic Monkeys stayed in control easily throughout the frenzy.  They were such rock stars.