Arctic Monkeys

2022 // Sunday 28th August // Leeds Festival 2022

Moshmag review by Stanley D Kippax

Set list controversy is the new number one. Downloads and streaming has buggered up the old measure of successful. Unless you consider Lad Baby (even his name annoys me) a generational song writing talent, no stock can be placed in number one singles anymore. Causing a stink on social media about your choice of songs, that’s when you know you’ve made it.

We’ve all got our favourite Arctic Monkeys song. For example the lady’s next to me was Mardy Bum, how do I know? Well she told us all, several times…loudly. We also all learnt she was having sex that night later too. “Good for her” I thought, “it’s always good to have a plan”.

Anyway, I’d spent much of the build up observing the chopping and changing of their set. One of my favourites, No1 Party Anthem, was for a tantalising few moments included, but when it failed to make Reading the writing was on the wall. I mention No1 Party Anthem because a) it’s my article so I can write what I like and b) I think it typifies what Alex Turner’s about. Turner has an canny knack of taking the most mundane thing and making it interesting (Ed – shame he can’t have a crack at this article as well). And when he applied that to a night out in a Northern city with his earlier work it struck a chord with a lot of people, but he no longer inhabits that world. So alas his new music reflects this, AM is probably the last chance we’ll get to enjoy that side of Alex, but didn’t we have a good run eh?!

So to the one side of the debate I say this. The AM are never going to play Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not in full (though I’d dearly love them to). You’ll just have to accept it I’m afraid. And to the other side I say this, just because you prefer their later work doesn’t elevate you a higher plain of understanding, it just means you probably weren’t 18 in 2006 contemplating fleeing your taxi or switching jumpers round the back of a nightclub.

Now if there’s anyone left reading this that I haven’t offended you should know this. They were outstanding. The whole set flew by. Almost no chat from Alex and no need for an overblown production. Opting for that simple Old Grey Whistle Test feel that the band seem to adore it felt like an act at the very top of their game.

Without mentioning any names, we’d seen one or two front men earlier in the weekend who’d give their right arm for just a touch of Alex Turner’s effortless cool. Everyone present came away a tiny bit cooler for being in his presence. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what he does (I suppose this is why he stands out) it’s a glance here, a look their, losing his train of thought like a Hollywood A-lister. If you can be a national treasure before the age of 40 then Alex Turner definitely is.

I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am was debuted earlier in the week but for a song many will have heard for the first time it had a familiar quality to it. The following day There’d Better Be A Mirrorball was released and it seems that Alex wont be abandoning the American 70s vibe anytime soon. But as long as fans are still treated to shows of the quality of Sunday night who are we to complain?! Who’s knows, next time we might even get Mardy Bum for ‘r lass down’t front. “We’re all Leeds aren’t we?” not quite, try 40 odd miles further south.

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