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Arctic Monkeys : Cluny, Newcastle, 1/8/2005

Much hyped Sheffield youngsters Arctic Monkeys are a phenomenon, having sold out the entire country for this, their first UK tour, and Newcastle’s Cluny was packed to the rafters with eager young fans for their debut North East show. Frontman Alex Turner is not what you’d expect to see when faced with the words ‘phenomenon’, looking as he does like a studious whipper-snapper, but when he and his boys took to the stage the roof almost came off.

They’ve not got much in the way of a stage act, and they’re not great-looking boys, and they don’t seem to be brimful of attitude either, so I was left wondering why they were so popular? It took ten seconds of ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’ to find out. This lot have songs, great songs. With some quality lyrical twists thrown in for good measure. Their style isn’t anything too fashionable, sounding as they do like Smaller more than anyone else. The guitars aren’t big and raucous, neither are they subdued. They’ve just hit a perfect balance between rock, pop and punk. And tonight they convince anyone who remained unconvinced just why they’re going to be huge. For most of the show we can’t even hear Turner’s vocals, such is the volume of the sing-along in the audience. Tracks like ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ have the whole venue pulsating to and from the stage, and by the end there’s a good few cases of heatstroke and exhaustion.

Signs are good for the future; Arctic Monkeys are an everyman band, one we can, and probably will, all fall in love with.

Jonjo McNeill


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