It wouldn’t surprise me if half the audience in attendance at Arctic Monkeys’ Perth Arena gig were oblivious to the fact that the rather impressive support act, Pond, was fully home-grown. A spin-off of Tame Impala, various members of Pond had been teasing crowds since their Arctic support gigs began on the east coast – speaking in thick British accents, and only revealing half-way through their set that they indeed hail from the west coast of Oz. Ah, them crazy kids. But they did play like fully fledged pros, impressing the hard-to-impress crowd – really there to see the grand phenomenon that is the Arctics – with their rollicking brand of psychedelic rock.
But to the true stars of the night. Arctic Monkeys’ most recent album ‘AM’ (an abbreviation of the band’s name and possibly a piss-take of the radio band you’re less likely to hear them on) was one of last year’s most critically lauded LPs. Judging by the set-list last night, this tour was in the hope to push more units of said album, with the band having performed every track off the LP, bar two. They even stuck to simple but blatant stage decoration, consisting of two giant letters – bright lights darting around the edges of the grand ‘A’ and ‘M’ like speedy neurons.
Fans didn’t appear to mind that most of the music delivered was from the past 12 months, joining in all muffle-like between drummer Matt Helder’s sharp percussive hits and bassist Nick O’Malley’s string rumblings. Standouts, naturally, were the singles: ‘Snap Out Of It’, ‘Arabella’, ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ and the damn-fine kickstart to a trio of encores, ‘One For The Road’.
But the boys did deliver some dandy renditions of non-single tracks, with singer Alex Turner – looking more Vegas crooner than Sheffield geezer – surely noting the irony in closing the show with ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ – his Facebook status rumoured to have recently been changed to ‘single’.
And the band did give fans a treat down memory lane on occasion, with punters going mad during the band’s eponymous hits ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’, indeed spilling Budweiser all over my seat and reminding me that, yes, this band has gotten bigger than Oasis and Blur combined.
Thankfully, the egos of Alex and Co is nowhere near as big as the brother’s Gallagher or cheek-meister Damon Albarn. Which might just keep Arctic Monkeys in our good books for a long time to come. Especially if the music remains this good.