Reviewed for JamBase:
The mini-ACL happening in NOLA continued Friday night (after catching the unreal Phoenix show at Tipitina's on Thursday and Dr. Dog on Wednesday) as modern day rock & roll success story Arctic Monkeys rolled through the Big Easy for a sold out show at the House of Blues. The Monkeys shocked the system, delivering an aggressive set leaving little on the table as they coursed through new Humbug tunes and staples from their earlier work.
It's easy to forget that these guys are still relatively new to the game looking so at home playing to a slam-packed house. For a British band, there is a definite surf rock spin on much of the material, with lustrous and LOUD Hawaiian guitar riffage beaming throughout. Songs like "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" bleed power and are almost too fast. The heavy Clash influence exhibits itself on the boisterous "Dancing Shoes" as frontman Alex Turner sings:
The lights are flashing
Down in here tonight
And some might exchange a glance
But keep pretending to dance
A staple cover in their live set these days, Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" was the highlight of the short set as the Monkeys put their stamp on a familiar tune. The cover was downright evil, with a sinister outro that could easily double as a horror movie score. A blinding strobe visual aesthetic scorched retinas and coupled well with the constant power emanating from Matt Helders' drum kit. American mainstream rock bands along the same lines of Kings of Leon could learn a lot from these guys, who give fans something fresh and put their best foot forward each time out. I wouldn't describe their music as particularly ambitious or exploratory - these guys stuck to their script of delivering tightly framed, freewheeling viscera throughout the set - but it's a beautiful thing and the bouncy crowd in the pit surely agreed. They exuded raw energy, seemed to enjoy themselves in the process, and made an outward effort to engage the generation-spanning crowd at HoB.
The encore left fans wanting more and although frustrating, it's always cool to see a band that knows when to hit the road and leave on a high note, with the Monkeys concluding with an epic blast through "505," the closing track from the band's second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. The Monkeys departed the stage one-by-one with guitarist Jamie Cook closing it down in brilliant fashion.
If you need a shot in the arm or just want further proof that ballsy rock & roll is still alive and well, then go check out Arctic Monkeys. The glorified rock dream isn't dead, and the young British rockers are climbing towards that pantheon of superstardom here in the States that they have enjoyed in Europe since the release of their instant classic and record breaking debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, which outsold Oasis' Definitely Maybe as the fastest-selling debut in British history, a mere three years ago.
10.02.09 :: House of Blues :: New Orleans, LA
Dance Little Liar, Brainstorm, Crying Lightening, Still Take You Home, Secret Door View From the Afternoon, Dangerous Animals, Potion Approaching, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, Sketchead Red Right Hand (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover), My Propeller, Cornerstone, Do Me a Favour, This House is a Circus, If You Were There, Beware
E: Fluorescent Adolescent, 505
Check out a couple videos from the show down below:
"Red Right Hand" (Nick Cave and Bad Seeds cover), Halloweenish:
Epic closer "505":