The Fourth Estate

Concert Review: Arctic Monkeys

Maggie Newell

 

Five years since AM’s widespread success, the Arctic Monkeys have deviated from their distinct indie rock sound and replaced it with an instrumental heavy, futuristic tone with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Despite the fact that Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is so different from their previous albums, that hasn’t affected their fan base as a whole. The Santa Barbara Bowl was sold out on Friday night and their performance didn’t disappoint.

 

Alex Turner, frontman and lyricist of the Monkeys started off the set with ‘Star Treatment,’ off of their latest album. He sang, ‘I just wanted to be one of the Strokes.’ This mindset has clearly changed from when he actually felt this way. As he performs, he appears comparatively different to the greaser aesthetic that used to be so synonymous with Turner. Now, he sports a beige flared suit, black boots, a shaved haircut and tinted glasses. The bands overall look has developed as well. The set was designed to reflect the premise of their album, where the band itself is supposed to portray a hotel’s band in a futuristic fantasy. Now, they seem to take on more of the classic sense of the rock genre, Turner’s stage presence seemed like it was right out of 60’s and 70’s rock performances.

 

Their deep contrast between previous albums demonstrates the rapid maturation the band has partaken in. This specific album provides social commentary on people’s virtual presence on media, gentrification and the power of technology. The contrast itself is particularly noticeable through the transition between different songs in the setlist. The band transfers between hard garage rock songs to the smoother, less intense melodies. In doing so, it made their new sound even more distinct to the audience.

 

Despite the fact that the Arctic Monkeys are touring to promote Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, they still tried to please fans by incorporating the older classics like “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” and “Crying Lightning” that made them so popular. In terms of stage presence, Turner’s was remarkable, you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. He would frequently take an almost Elvis-like stance and lie across the floor during some of the more soothing numbers. Overall, the Arctic Monkeys concert was an unforgettable one, it suited both the long-term and the more recent fans whilst also maintaining the band’s own artistic sense of self. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino differs from any works we’ve seen before from the Arctic Monkeys through the maturation of instrumental technique and honest criticism of societal issues through Turner’s lyrics.

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Concert Review: Arctic Monkeys