June 21st, Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto
I promise that one day I will write a live review that does not also critique the audience, but why is it that the Arctic Monkeys seem to attract the very dickheads disparaged in the lyrics of frontman Alex Turner? I’m not tarnishing everyone at the show with the same brush though there were those that ruined parts of the gig for many others.
Screaming ‘Wooooooo!” during, say, one of Jamie Cook’s solos, so much so that no one around you can hear that solo any more, is more offensive than whipping out your dick and pissing on the Klipsch Lawns, which others also did. Secondly, if you are going to sing along in a toneless scream, at least get the fucking words correct. Nowhere on the “Bainstorm” lyric sheet does it say “See you later, alligator”.
Even disregarding these medium-to-well-done annoyances, the band themselves failed to live up to the expectations I placed on them when I ordered my ticket a couple of months back. The performance, in and of itself, was excellent. Four talented musicians – including one of the best drummers out there – tightly wound and with a sound that more than translates on to a stadium venue format. My issue was that I’d turned up to see a different set of songs. Many were from the new record, sure. It is my least favourite record of theirs but it was the AM tour after all.
It was the songs other than those from their most recent release that were disappointing. No “This House is a Circus” or “If You Were There, Beware”, no “Dance Little Liar” or “Pretty Visitors”, no cover of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand”. Nope, just the obvious singles, the bizarre choice of “Library Pictures” and the odd bit of excitement that they may progress into a more interesting set, brought upon by renditions of “My Propeller” and “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”.
I preferred it when they smoked a shit ton of weed, grew their hair long, listened to Queens of the Stone Age a lot and made their own stoner-rock album, Humbug.
Maybe I went to see them on the wrong tour. Except I did go to see them on that tour – 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland – where they were incredible, performing stretched-out and re-invented versions of their earlier work, but the show was interrupted on four separate occasions while some arseholes scrapped it out in front of the stage. Security would push the band members out the way in order to shine torches on the perpetrators before retreating and allowing the band to continue as if nothing had happened. I kind of bought my ticket for the Toronto show to compensate for this experience and it backfired.
All things considered, I definitely should have gone to see Spoon instead.