The Arctic Monkeys w/ the Smith Westerns – War Memorial – October 5th, 2011

It’s been a good bit since I’ve been to a proper concert. Not that I haven’t seen some great live music in the past few months, but I haven’t been to a show with lights, smoke machines and all of that jazz in a good bit. You can say all you want about how it doesn’t matter and that it’s the music that counts (well, no shit Sherlock), but c’mon. Most people who get into music get into it by being blown away by a massive concert. It’s all in good fun and that’s what you matters. Luckily, the Arctic Monkeys decided to make their Nashville debut last night, bringing along another one of my current favorites, the Smith Westerns.

I met up with my buddies Aaron and Claire and since we got there around 7, we decided to hit Broadway for pregaming. Roberts Western wasn’t bad, but fuck Tootsies. They made me pay $4.75 for a PBR. Fuck that noise. We ran late getting into the venue and missed about 3 songs from the Smith Westerns. Bummer, but at least I caught the rest of their set. They put on a great show with the highlight for me being “Smile”. It’s weird to think that just last January, I saw these guys play that song for at the End. Just a mere 10 months later, they’re playing the War Memorial. Whether you love them or hate them (but I don’t think I’ve met a single person who doesn’t dig them), they’re on their way.

The Arctic Monkeys were up next. As the lights went down, the crowd’s cheers roared through out the venue. Then came a simple organ line as the keyboardist came out. Finally, the rest of the band emerged. Alex Turner came out looking like a mix of Elvis, a greaser from the Outsiders, and James Dean, a steep contrast from the long haired guy he was in the “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair.” He grabbed the microphone with both hands and as he did, bam! The band launched into “Pretty Vistors.” I was expecting “Library Pictures,” because they have used that consistently as the opener, but this was a very cool surprise. From then on, the band went full speed into “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair.” The crowd was surprisingly wild. Turner must have noticed it, so he launched into the calmer “She’s Thunderstorms”, which subdued the crowd for just a bit. However, as soon as the band played the opening riff for “Fluorescent Adolescent,” that breathe of calmness dissipated. People danced and sang along during the famous line “the best you ever had.” I believe “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” was next and once again, I was falsely lead to believe that the Monkeys were going to take it down a notch as the song made the crowd more peaceful. Then Turner grabbed the mic and said in his Sheffield-heavy accent “we’re going to change the pace now, Nashville.” And fuck, they did.

I don’t remember a couple of songs here and there but I remember the crowd going wild during “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor.” I used to think that song was a bit fruity, especially with a title like that. However, live, it’s awesome and full of energy. The crowd ate it up more than ever. You had to keep an eye out so you didn’t either a) get shoved into the pit, b) catch a boot to the head from a crowdsurfer or c) get a $7 beer spilled on you. I found out the hard way for all three unfortunately, but lesson learned. The band usually paused before the big breakdowns of songs, teasing the audience before launching into the remainder of the song in true “full speed ahead” fashion.  Another highlight was that the band played a brand new song, “Evil Twin.” I was pretty busy trying not to fall in the pit, but from what I could actually listen to, it was heavy with a sinister little riff that the Monkeys have become known for nowadays. The band also made another live debut last night, “Love is a Laserquest.” I got my hopes up and thought they’d say they were going to debut “Piledriver Waltz,” but I was more than happy to hear “Laserquest,” which demonstrates Turner’s abilities as a lyricist.

Evil Twin – The Arctic Monkeys

 

“Suck It and See” followed soon after and that song rips even harder live. That closing line “Be cruel to me, because I’m a fool for you” rings just as powerful in an auditorium full of people as when you’re listening to that song in your room. Once again, Turner knows what he’s doing. The band disappeared but reappeared for the encore. They powered through 3 awesome songs, “Teddy Picker”, “Crying Lightening”, and “505.’ At the end, everyone was exhausted from alcohol and trying to survive, but we still managed to cheer loudly when Turner (who had been baiting the audience all night)  suggested “maybe we should come back sooner, yeah?” From the response he got from that, I have a feeling that the Arctic Monkeys first Nashville appearance won’t be there last.

Smile – Smith Westerns

Suck It and See – the Arctic Monkeys

I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor – the Arctic Monkeys

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