Summerfest Review (Arctic Monkeys)

Image courteousy of live

Arctic Monkeys

I need a refresher on this group; what are they known for?

Most recently the English indie-alternative band had the smash single “Do I Wanna Know?” from 2013’s AM featured in several commercials (Bacardi most notably).  For those of you who are into the spectacle of Olympic opening ceremonies, the group played at the 2012 London games, which is a nod to the group’s popularity not just in Europe but in America.

Is this the same band I listen to on Spotify? (On a scale from bad cover band to live studio recording)

My description of the Arctic Monkey’s sound would be personified though the smoky haze that hangs in the rafters of a London pub during a passionate Manchester United match.  It’s aggressive while bringing with it a sense of purpose, allowing for anthem-ic type songs that are somehow equal parts bold and mellow.  I haven’t listened to enough of the group’s albums, independently of one another, to know if that has always been their sound, but it definitely resonated as the dominant sound on what turned out to be a rainy opening night of Summerfest.  The weather played perfectly into the sound that the group was shooting for; the dreariness compounding with their opening pick of “Do I Wanna Know?”, and it was of unanimous agreement among my friends that they were definitely a concert band.

If I made this band a Pandora station, what other groups would play?

The band draws comparisons to a lot of British Invasion era rock bands i.e. The Smiths, but can be compared to more contemporary artists drawing influence from The Strokes and sounding similar to The Fratellis.

Highlight of the set?

The set’s strength was in its consistency with the band stringing along the show with a mixture of frantic dancehall tunes-“I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, “Brainstorm”, and “Fluorescent Adolescent” (my personal favorite) paired with the up and down tempo of AM, their most recent offering.  According to front man Alex Turner, AM was shooting for a more hip-hop influence listing fellow Summerfest group Outkast as a group drew material from for the new album.  The band broke out hits “Do I Wanna Know?”, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, and “Snap Out Of It” among others from what was ranked among the top albums of last year.

Will I fit in?  (Atmosphere of the set)

The groovy dancing of the packed crowd made the atmosphere feel very welcoming, but at the same time hard to maneuver.  As my friend astutely pointed out “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” was not an abstract concept, evidenced by the amount of smoke drifting among the bleachers, thicker than the average concert might experience because of the added cloudiness of the night. 

Worth seeing again? (1-5 beach balls of summer fun)

Three and a half; all other factors aside, the Artic Mokeys did a good job of projecting their sound to the outer most region of the crowd.  Being a first time Summerfest attendee, I was not prepared for the immense crowd sizes and plan on arriving much earlier next year.