Arctic Monkeys, Live at the Arena Hull

Equipped with fluorescent Adidas zip-ups designed to blind, Penguin polos buttoned to the brim and lethal amounts of warm, over-priced Carlsberg, the ‘Arctic Army’ (die-hard fans to you and me) are out in force tonight. Their rain-sodden French crops and eyes black with bags confirm that yes, Monkey-mania lives on… and on.

Any critics bemused as to why such extreme adoration is being draped around these four acne-adorned Sheffield lads-next-door achieve enlightenment as soon as ‘Riot Van’s opening plucks of perfection greet their eardrums. A seemingly odd opening choice, this blissfully lethargic number was probably intended to calm the crowd.

However, Alex Turner’s melancholy mumbles, under whelmed expression and wilting posture somehow manage to transport the sweaty pit into new realms of loudness. Indeed, the scrawl across Helders’ violently shaking drum kit, kindly warning us that ‘the funk might fracture your nose’ becomes an understatement, as the band slide effortlessly into ‘The View from Afternoon’, hurling the crowd towards white lights.

Contrary to the latest rumours that, in true Radiohead ‘Creep’ style, the Arctics now refuse to play Mardy Bum, the anthem makes a more than welcome appearance, along with the remainder of their debut album, ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’.

Having been furiously banging out these tunes for years, inevitably the wind-up Monkeys look a tad unexcited, yet still they are tighter than their pursed lips, and sound fantastic.

The band appear to perk up upon the exhibition of their new EP’s gems, with the jazzed up oldie ‘Cigarette Smoker Fiona’ being the highlight; its snarling vocals and gritty guitars introducing a new, more mature side to the band, confirming that, thankfully, the Arctic Monkeys are in it for the long-haul.

Reviewed by Camille Augarde
25/04/06

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