REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, 5/5, by Louis Emanuel
FEW British bands have come close to enjoying the success of Arctic Monkeys over the last decade. Even fewer are still producing ground-breaking music while selling out global tours.
At Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on Tuesday the group showed why their short career propelled them to the top and why they have remained there.
With Cardiff being the closest the now-superstars came to Bristol, I felt obliged to cross the bridge to catch the gig – plus, I has some unfinished business with the Arctic Monkeys (I will get to that later).
This was a sell-out concert during which the band covered all five of their number-one albums. From Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not to AM, they took the audience on a journey from their mates-from-Sheffield roots to their modern-day Los Angeles high life.
Starting with 2013 single Do I Wanna Know?, the Arctic Monkeys gave Cardiff a taste of their newly-honed thick, full, imposing and soulful indie rock. Alex Turner is widely considered the best songwriter of his generation – and his lyrics on the most recent of the band's work are as potent as ever.
But it was still the band's early work which connected most powerfully. Two tracks in particular jolted the crowd back to 2005 – Dancing Shoes and I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor. Both are a reminder of who the Arctic Monkeys are and what they mean to their fans – beer cups started flying and pockets of the crowd made a sudden rush towards the stage. The latter song's chorus turned young faces inwards, eyes squeezed closed and eyebrows buckled as every word was screamed with might.
Further down the line, latest single Why D'you Only Call Me When You're High? showed the popularity of the new album which many are already calling their best. Fans mouthed the lyrics while frontman Alex looked for confirmation that the new songs were working. "I just wanna check everyone is happy," he said as the show drew to a close.
On fine form, the band were still flying high from a Friday-night headline slot at Glastonbury this year. The gig was a festival highlight for many – and would have been for me had it not been for a worrying memory relapse which dumped me in the Stone Circle, covered in glitter. Looking back at Tuesday's gig with a full recollection of the band's set I appreciate now, perhaps better than ever, what I missed.