Arctic Monkeys in Coventry
Arctic Monkeys came to Coventry and left as conquerors following a set of flair and showmanship
Arctic Monkeys second stop of their ‘The Car’ tour brought them to Coventry’s CBS Arena. Following an eye-catching opening set down in Bristol, where AM opened up with ‘Mardy Bum’- a song they’d not played live in over a decade- expectations were high for what they might play to the anticipating Coventry crowd.
As the sun set over this corner of the West Midlands, the band burst onto stage with a barnstorming rendition of ‘Brainstorm’. The track is one which has become a staple of an AM live set, and it wouldn’t be the last of the night.
The show was a wander through the various eras of Arctic Monkeys, scaling the pulsating heights of ‘Suck it and See’ and ‘Whatever people say I am, that’s not what I’m Not’ to the delicate and thought provoking stories from ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ and ‘The Car’.
‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ was played with its usual flair and pulsating rhythm and this was followed up in quick succession with a sprinkling of tracks from pre TBH&C. ‘Crying Lightning’ into ‘Teddy Picker’ was the stand out transition, and indicated that the set was in full swing.
Alex Turner is as natural a front man as you could ask for, and all his charm shone through on stage. His iconic hairdo and shades (which didn’t stay on too long after the sun went down) are a staple of not just Turner but of this band which has stapled itself on the music scene for years now.
Back to back tracks from firstly TBH&C and then The Car brought the evening to a mellow period, one which after the chaos of the opening songs many in the crowd were likely grateful for. ‘Four Out Of Five’ into ‘Big Ideas’ gave Turner the chance to really take centre stage, with the lyrical concoctions of both songs shining through to an appreciative crowd.
The large screens cast the band in a grainy, 1980s style light and whether or not this was the intention, it certainly worked in creating a profound atmosphere- one which Turner himself probably relished.
A wander back into the more cult classic AM era resulted in renditions of iconic songs including ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘My Propeller’ took fans old and new back to the late 2000s and a time when the band released two albums in just under two and a half years.
As the songs were ticked away, each executed better than the last, the point in the night came for the Coventry crowd to be given their taste of a throwback. ‘Mardy Bum’ sounded every bit as sweet as I thought it would and although I was quietly confident it would be on the set list, it was a relief to hear it played. The track is one which is part of the core AM songs which defined their sound in that era- and it is certainly a world away from the out of this world sound they created with the likes of TBH&C.
Two more tracks from ‘The Car’ got a run out before the night came to a close, with ‘Body Paint’ being a particular stand out performance from Sheffield’s finest. ‘Sculptures of Anything Goes’ shook the crowd with its deep, pulsating bass and Turner’s iconic voice gave this song plenty of credit.
The show was a stunning example of what this band has done for years and what it continues to do. Thousands spilled back out onto the streets of Coventry having watched a not so gentle reminder of why the Arctic Monkeys are still very much a force to be reckoned with in world music.
There are plenty of tour dates left for AM, but the one which I’m looking forward to now is their headliner slot at Glastonbury later this summer. If they can piece together that good of a setlist for their stadium tour, then one can only wonder what they’ll come up with for the big night out in Somerset.