Arctic Monkeys concert review: Band serves up new songs in Brooklyn

When the Arctic Monkeys danced onto the stage at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater on Thursday night, they were greeted with such thunderous applause and overwhelming screams that it was like Alex Turner speaking directly as he sat at the piano and chanted, “Don’t get emotional ‘ sang to the audience.

As the band opened the show with new single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball,” which was released just a few weeks ago, audiences welcomed it like an old classic. As Turner sang the song’s title in falsetto for the last time, a giant disco ball descended from the ceiling, illuminating the exuberant Kings Theatre.

To put it bluntly, there are good reasons for Monkeymania. Thursday’s show was the band’s first headlining concert in the US since 2018, and although their seminal album ‘AM’ came out almost a decade ago (feel old?), the Tumblr-era thirst for Turner is still alive lively. The crowd erupted in shouts at the frontman’s every move — and cheered as he dropped his guitar on “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” as he heaved the mic stand over his head on “Arabella.” Of course, when he growled “How’s every doing” between songs, with a British accent stronger than the bass note of “Crying Lightning”.

Christian Wade

“AM” was featured generously on this setlist, with the band playing six of the album’s dozen tracks. And while more of the band’s early stuff could have gone a long way (perhaps “Fake Tales of San Francisco,” “A Certain Romance,” or “Fluorescent Adolescent”), 2013’s tracks sound as strong as ever. The band still finds ways to spice up “Do I Wanna Know?”, which has clearly reached the elite class of rock songs whose riffs alone have become ballpark singalongs. “Arabella,” filled with sultry harmonies and a dizzying guitar riff, elicited a visceral excitement from the crowd, with Turner cautiously proclaiming, “Arabella’s got some interstellar gator-skin boots.” He wants you to hear his every syllable. Turner paused for a long time during “RU Mine?”, basking in the audience’s anticipation before launching into the explosive final chorus: “In my mind, when she’s not right there within me / I go crazy!”

“AM” feels like the clear dividing line between the shaggy Sheffield boys who electrified Britain’s aughts festivals and the polite, slick greasers who dominated the alternative boom of the 2010s. This record laid the groundwork for the more mature sound that’s reflected in the swanky, piano-heavy crooners of “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino” and what we’ve heard so far from “The Car,” out October 21. Along with “Mirrorball,” Turner and company performed three songs from the forthcoming album: the smoky “Body Paint,” the wah-pedal “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am,” and the slow-burning “Mr. Schwartz.”

“When you think of me / I probably think of you,” Turner crooned on “Body Paint,” before floating into a spacey guitar meltdown. The obligatory Yondr bags meant phones and videotaping weren’t allowed at the show (although it was professionally filmed), so fans will have a hard time finding footage of the new songs online. Rest assured, they sound on par with “Tranquility Base” and the lead single “Mirrorball,” trading punk energy and catchy hooks for the band’s new retro, almost psychedelic lounge vibe. The new cuts are romantic and mysterious, sometimes even spooky.

Despite being played at a slightly slower tempo, early catalog favorites “From the Ritz to the Rubble” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” still blew the ceiling, and “Humbug” fans must have been pleased ” Pretty Visitor” and “Potion Approaching”. With an eight-piece band and added support from guitar, synth and percussion, the earth-shattering “Brianstorm” sent ripples through the Kings Theater and songs from “Tranquility Base” sounded even more intoxicating.

Kicking off a three-song encore with “Mr. Schwartz” and “Cornerstone”, the Arctic Monkeys closed the show with the fan favorite “505”. The crowd was bobbing during the build, but when Turner shouted, “I’ll crumble to pieces if you cry,” the pit truly turned into a dance floor — a giant mirror ball glittering overhead.

1. “There Better Be A Mirror Ball”
2. “One Point Perspective”
3. “Forget it”
4. “Crying Lightning”
5. “Why did you only call me when you were high?”
6. “Arabella”
7. “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino”
8. “The Ultra Cheese”
9. “Body Paint”
10. “Brian’s Tower”
11. “Potion Approaches”
12. “Do I want to know?”
13. “You’re wrong”
14. “Knee Socks”
15. “I’m not quite where I think I am”
16. “Pretty Visitors”
17. “From Ritz to Rubble”
18. “I bet you look good on the dance floor”
19. “RU mine?”
20. “Mr. black”
21. “Cornerstone”
22. “505” Arctic Monkeys concert review: Band serves up new songs in Brooklyn

Charles Jones

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