The Arctic Monkeys have seen a drastic evolution from when they first burst onto the Brit-rock scene in the early 2000s. And we literally mean burst – their debut album became the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history after they distributed their demos across the internet. They were full of laddish charm, and their songs were upbeat in tone, catchy as f***, and full of fast-paced lyrics. Since then, they have evolved into what we now see Arctic Monkeys as – a slow, sexy, jazzy band that would be played in the hotel lobby of a five-star hotel in the '70s. So what iteration of the Arctic Monkeys were we going to see tonight?
Mini Mansions hit the stage first, and their name is rather fitting as they seemed like a minimMe version of Arctic Monkeys, even being decked out in similar suits. Featuring Queens Of The Stone Age’s bassist Michael Shuman, Mini Mansions entertained the growing crowd with their own brand of sultry rock.
Arctic Monkeys hit the stage and came out of the gates swinging with "Four Out Of Five" – one of the leading singles off their latest album, Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino. Tranquility Base was released to very mixed reviews, with Rolling Stone describing that the album “can’t bear the weight of the man at the piano’s indulgences,” and Junkee labelling it “a brick shithouse”.
As the night progressed, it became exceedingly clear that the crowd were not here for the songs off Tranquility Base, as the energy in the crowd dwindled when they were played. Popping mainly for songs off of their 2013 album AM, the crowd went completely bonkers for "Arabella" and "Do I Wanna Know?", and practically blew the roof off the venue when the encore finished on "R U Mine?".
Altogether, the mood felt mixed. It was hard to jump straight from the '70s lounge vibes of Tranquility Base into the pop-rock feel of "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor", and this dichotomy between the two genres was glaringly obvious. How do you play a cohesive set when all your music sounds completely different? There were also notable gaps in the set list, with this first of two nights in Sydney not getting either "Dancing Shoes", "Fluorescent Adolescent" or "Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?".
Clocking in at 21 songs long, while Arctic Monkeys didn’t short-change us by any means, what they gave us felt a bit devoid of heart and soul, as if they were just going through the motions.
Catch our full gallery of photos from Arctic Monkeys in Sydney after the jump!