ACL Fest Review: Arctic Monkeys
By Ramon Ramirez
Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 4, 2013
Guitarist Jamie Cook wore a vest, tie and long pants. Frontman Alex Turner showed off a 12-string guitar — tickling licks behind his sunglasses, pinky rings and gel-slicked hair. To be clear, Arctic Monkeys are actively cool. In 2006, the band enjoyed a Beatles push — exported as a peak British spirit, behind eager blurbs that referred to the quartet as “lads.” Five records later, the throbbing hearts are kicking up dust, calling on dancing shoes and sharp, fist-pumping cadences to lead their bar fights. Onstage immersed in a hard-strumming Samsung Galaxy, swan-diving dragonflies swooped, Camelback providers swilled and arm-crossed tank toppers danced in place — the Monkeys pulsed like forward singles. Turner showed off his team as the sun set, “This young man over here on the drums, Austin, how about him?”
Turner later read his crowd’s pulse, before jolting into one from “Our fifth studio LP… I can tell that’s what you really want to hear from the looks on all your faces.” Rocking on with cuts from last month’s “AM,” Turner and the Monkeys won on their falsetto backing harmonies, “Hip-Hop Hooray” arm swaying melodies and brow-mopping energy. There was sad emoticon-punctuated philosophisizing like “why do you only call me when you’re high?” and an on-blast call out to non-participants before “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” “I’d like to dedicate this next number to their girlfriends.” The band brought a combative edge that served them well; dudes rocked chains and Adidas sweatpants like Guy Ritchie gangsters. “I want to sleep in a city that never wakes up,” Turner sang. He’s home.