Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Live Review: Arctic Monkeys/Reading
I need to start this 'live review' with a footnote to say that I wasn't actually at the Reading Festival, my review is taken from the live footage of the Monkeys performing, but I think on this occasion, this will prove to be more honest. Taking myself from the crowd itself takes me from any created atmosphere that only an anticpiated festival-headline slot can bring, and I need to remove myself from any atmospheres in order to concentrate on the performance as a whole. And as another footnote, I'm not a Monkeys hater, I am in fact a big fan; I've seen them live and have BOUGHT (not a downloader) their first two albums and thoroughly enjoyed them. So here goes.
I'm afraid that our once dubbed saviours of popular music have jumped on the bandwagon of what it is to be 'cool'. These guys used to be so original; a cheeky four-piece with short hair and witty lyrics. Onstage they were fresh and exciting, and their music was just that. Their melodies were completely original, something that is now so difficult to produce in order to stand out from the crowd. They started the 'accent-singing' for this generation, the drums were outlandish and dared to be different, the entire package of the band was such a breath of much-needed fresh air.
But then I watched the band perform at Reading Festival, and I am scared. I am worried we've lost something that could have been great. Where once stood the short-haired, tight, energetic scamps reaking havoc with witty, dancy pop-rock songs now stood a gormless looking front-man, barely able to see through his mop of hair, strumming his guitar so slowly and painfully like it hurt everytime he moved. Alex Turner was fronting a band of zombies. The new songs were all so slow and depressing, where are the exciting rhythms?! It's not like they've never written a slow song but these guys aren't a ballad band, it's all about the energy and it's all been lost. I'd read reviews of the new album saying the same kind of comments, that the band's once-loved originality had been lost on Alex writing slow songs for his dear Alexa Chung and it seems to be the case. I respect the band for trying something new, but I actually had to turn the television off after fifteen minutes; the set was that slow and gormless and boring. So much for the birth of the saviours of popular music, I guess it's still down to me...