Sunday, 26 October 2014

Arctic Monkeys at Earls Court (26/10/13)

I can’t be the only one who looks up clips online, of a live performance that I was actually present at, for nostalgic purposes.

It’s been exactly one year since I attended the Arctic Monkeys show at Earls Court, so I feel a belated post about the show is justified.

In a nutshell? An enjoyable but forgettable night. The only memorable part of the night for me was when “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” played (well that, and when the show temporarily stopped due to a few technical hitches):

That slow burn intro is just perfect… the dramatic spaghetti western/surf rock-esque electric guitar riff is like something from a Tarantino movie.

It’s weird because before the year 2013, I had never actually been to a live concert or show before. Yet in that same year I not only saw Arctic Monkeys, but Muse and Jennifer Lopez as well (quite a variety there).

That may seem odd for a self-professed music lover. But the truth is I don’t follow bands or music artists religiously: I follow the music. To me, a good song is a good song no matter who it’s by. If an artist has a repertoire of songs that I like then sure, I can go see them in concert.

Or so I thought. Because these days, catching a particular artist’s live show is more of a promotional tool for their latest album. They might play three or four of their biggest hits in addition to the newer stuff, but 80% of the live show will be dedicated to plugging their latest album.

Which is understandable as I doubt artists’ make much money from record sales alone these days. Plus, as a discography starts to build up and you have a number of albums behind you, it’s impossible to visit each album thoroughly.

But I rarely buy albums, unless I’ve heard at least three of four songs that I thought were decent, usually via radio airplay. AM was released on the 6th September, 2013. I went to see Arctic Monkeys at the end of October. By this time, only a couple of singles had been released from the album that I was familiar with. I didn’t rush out to buy the album like the usual die-hard fan because frankly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the rest of the songs on there. But since the rest of the album made up the bulk of the concert, I found myself nodding along apathetically to the majority of the setlist.

Not the kind of die-hard concertgoer experience you would hope for.

I guess that’s perhaps why I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I thought I would. A bit more of a varied selection would have been nice. Not one single song from Suck It & See made the setlist which was disappointing: the title track, as well as “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” are both epic tunes!

The funny thing is, on nights out I hate hearing the same old tunes being repeated (though this is usually a different genre to live indie music). But it seems at concerts, I like a bit more familiarity with the selection of songs playing. At the aforementioned Muse and Jennifer Lopez concert, I did find myself singing along to a lot more of the songs that played. But I guess these are artists with much more of a mass appeal, so the emphasis is on pleasing the crowd as opposed to a band showcasing new material.


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